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Systems Thinking Across the NASA Project Lifecycle (APPEL-vSTNPL)


  • Lessons Learned for Mission Success
    Lessons Learned for Mission Success

Skill Level: Team/Subsystem Leads or higher.

This two-day course will use a threaded case study to help participants define and utilize effective mental models to analyze and respond to challenges arising across the project lifecycle. Challenges from the following contexts will be addressed: systems thinking context, technical baseline context, and project management/safety and mission assurance context. This will be accomplished by immersing participants in strategic and tactical program and project lessons learned spanning systems engineering, project management and safety and mission assurance, as well as technically-detailed topics. Through guided exercises and discussions, participants will be challenged to critically evaluate problems and solutions that have been faced by NASA, United States Department of Defense and industry project teams. Emphasis will be placed on evaluating the context for issues and the development of courses of action along with the consequences of decisions.

This course is designed for team practitioners/technical engineers, team/subsystem leads, project managers/project systems engineers and program managers/chief engineers. All attendees should have a basic understanding of NPR 7123.1 and NPR 7120.5

Project Management Competencies
  • PM 1.0 - Project Proposal
  • PM 3.0 - Requirements Development and Management
  • PM 4.0 - Acquisition Management
  • PM 5.0 - Project Planning
  • PM 6.0 – Cost Estimating
  • PM 7.0 - Risk Management
  • PM 8.0 - Earned Value Management
  • PM 9.0 - Safety and Mission Assurance
  • PM 10.0 - Project Lifecycle
  • PM 11.0 - Budget and Resource Management
  • PM 12.0 - Contract Management
  • PM 13.0 - Systems Engineering
Common Competencies
  • C 1.2 - NASA Project Management/Systems Engineering Procedures and Guidelines
  • C 2.1 - Staffing and Performance
  • C 2.2 - Team Dynamics and Management
  • C 3.3 - Safety and Mission Assurance
  •  C 4.2 - Communication
  • C 4.3 – Leadership
Systems Engineering Competencies
  • SE 1.1 - Stakeholder Expectation Definition & Management
  • SE 1.2 - Technical Requirements Definition
  • SE 1.3 - Logical Decomposition
  • SE 1.4 - Design Solution Definition
  • SE 2.1 - Product Implementation
  • SE 2.2 - Product Integration
  • SE 2.5 - Product Transition
  • SE 3.1 - Technical Planning
  • SE 3.2 - Requirements Management
  • SE 3.4 - Technical Risk Management
  • SE 3.7 - Technical Assessment
  • SE 3.8 - Technical Decision Analysis

Click here to view full competency model.

Related Resources

Resource Category

Overview of NASA Lessons Learned Information System –
SMA-QE-WBT-215 (NASA Only)
Significant Incidents & Close Calls in Human Spaceflight Website


APPEL Library Resources

NASA Galaxie Library NASA Galaxie Library Books 24x7 Library Books 24x7 Library
All supplemental resources are NASA accessible only unless otherwise noted.

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe and apply NASA and other organizations’ lessons learned resources.
  • Develop decision-making frameworks for systems engineering and project management challenges and apply them to recommend solutions.
  • Critically evaluate lessons learned from various programs and projects and describe how they can be applied to your own NASA responsibilities.
  • Formulate plans for addressing typical problems faced in NASA programs and projects and use them to defend specific courses of action.
  • Demonstrate systems-thinking in the context of interpreting lessons learned and case studies as they apply to specific program and project challenges.