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Tackle Project Management like a Rocket Scientist

Project managers have a lot to learn from NASA, and not just because nothing says innovation like the space age. NASA has tackled projects, like landing the robot Curiosity on Mars, that were previously thought impossible, and they did it all by thinking outside the box. Imagine if your team approached every project with the same can-do attitude. Nothing, including landing on Mars, would seem impossible.

Cyndee Miller of the Project Management Institute, shares some tips from the Curiosity landing that can also be applied to project management. Remember bold questions lead to grand challenges. Always fly as you test, and test as you fly. If at first you fail, don’t try again (at least, not until you’ve learned from your mistakes). Remember early returns keep sponsors happy, so report any positive findings right away.

Originally, critics thought NASA’s plan to land Curiosity was crazy. The lack of atmosphere on Mars would make touchdown impossible, but NASA proved them wrong. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to reach your project’s end goal, but a willingness to attempt the “impossible” is a must.

About Rachel Ginder

Rachel Ginder was a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success and joined the team in 2013. She also helped with social media and research.

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