How NASA Can Help Microsoft

Posted by bink on December 14 2006, 4:11 AM. Posted in NASA.

On an internal blog at Microsoft, I came across a posting by a Corporate VP on some books he was going read while on vacation.  One of the books was a autobiography of one of my hero's, Gene Kranz, who was Flight Director for several flights in Project Gemini and Apollo.

Kranz lead his team of Flight Controllers (known as the White Team) during two of the most dramatic events in the space program at the time; the touchdown of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, Eagle, and again when the Apollo 13 Service Module exploded.

Kranz's book is called Failure Is Not An Option and is wonderfully written and I recommend it highly.  In my opinion, and echoed in the internal blog posting I read, the lessons of the space race of the late 1950's and 1960's are of value to any large organization.  Kranz's management style is no-nonsense, and that constant practice through simulation kept everyone alert and allowed them to react quickly to unplanned situations.

Probably the worst thing in his Flight Control world was encountering a problem that wasn't already thought about. The idea being as anything went wrong, everyone has experience with the problem from simulation and could react very quickly. Absolutely there are numerous lessons for Microsoft in how NASA and it's contractors approached the space race to the Moon.

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