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Symposium 2015 : NASA and Talent Management: Close Encounters of the Three Kinds

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Through its flexible model of knowledge and learning services, NASA meets the development needs of practitioners, project teams, and the organization. By linking business strategy to knowledge and learning approaches, NASA provides an integrated and systematic approach to address critical skillsets for technical, leadership, and business capabilities. This approach optimizes individual competence, project team performance, and organizational learning in a way that enables NASA to meet the changing needs of its workforce.


Dr. Jon Boyle has served in several capacities in public and private sector organizations, from industrial production lines and overseas military combat units to multinational corporations, NASA flight facilities, and academia. He possesses expertise in Cognitive Neurosciences, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Knowledge Management, Group Processes, Human Resources and Workforce Development, Business Strategy, Technology-Enabled Learning, Research and Development, and Process Improvement.
Jon currently serves as the NASA Agency Deputy Chief Knowledge Officer (InuTeq), where he contributes to the development of the overall NASA Technical Workforce through Knowledge Services. He earned a B.A. in Psychology and Biology from the University of Southern Maine; a M.Ed. from Boston University; a M.A in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from George Mason University; and a Ph.D. in Human Development from Virginia Tech, as well as participating in diverse training and certifications in technology, project management, quality-related topics, acquisition and procurement, leadership, and coaching. He currently teaches several undergraduate and graduate programs and maintains an active research and publication agenda. Jon lives in the DC Metro area with his wife Allyson, son Zachary, and twin daughters Bevin and Riley. His son Christopher recently returned from Afghanistan where he serves as a Blackhawk Crew Chief in the U.S. Army and is now stationed at Fort Belvoir, VA.

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Symposium 2015 : NASA and Talent Management: Close Encounters of the Three Kinds

  1. 1. Close Encounters of 3 Kinds Attracting, Retaining and Leveraging Talent to Support an Organizational Knowledge System at NASA Dr. Jon Boyle NASA Chief Knowledge Office
  2. 2. The Library of Babel – Jorge Luis Borges
  3. 3. I. Knowledge at NASA - Generational Knowledge - The Changing Landscape - Products, Projects, Entrepreneurship - Complexity - Stakeholder Messages
  4. 4. Knowledge Spans Generations X-15 Space Shuttle One of the X-15’s many knowledge legacies that it passed to the Shuttle was unpowered landing — both reentered the atmosphere as gliders. Introduced: 1958 Retired: 2010
  5. 5. The Changing Knowledge Landscape • Managing knowledge is nothing new at NASA. • Many early efforts were in response to specific needs. • In recent years, agency stakeholders have identified opportunities for greater coordination and collaboration across NASA.
  6. 6. Projects, Products, Entrepreneurship Complex Project- Based Organization Mass-Production Organization Entrepreneurial Organization Product One-and-only Scalable manufacture Permanent beta Problems Novel Routine Hackable Technology New/invented Improved/more efficient Frugal Cost Life cycle Unit -> Zero marginal Schedule Project completion Productivity rate Iterative Customer Involved at inception Involved at point of sale Involved in testing Knowledge Need Innovation Continuous improvement Bootstrap + innovation
  7. 7. Confusing, vague, and poorly defined priorities, strategies, lines of authority, governance, policies, roles, responsibilities, support Multiple customers, stakeholders, and partners at multiple levels of interest, involvement, responsibility Technical complexity and system integration issues within & across multiple disciplines and systems Increasing amounts of data and information for process input, throughput, output Multiple overlapping, conflicting, outdated processes and procedures involving multiple POCs across multiple levels & across multiple oversight & advisory entities COMPLEXITY Complexity at NASA
  8. 8. Message from Stakeholders 2002-2012 (1) GAO 2002: “…fundamental weaknesses in the collection and sharing of lessons learned agency-wide.” ASAP 2011: “…recommends NASA establish a single focal point (a Chief Knowledge Officer) within the Agency to develop the policy and requirements necessary to integrate knowledge capture…” OIG 2012: “…inconsistent policy direction and implementation for the Agency’s overall lessons learned program.”
  9. 9. Message from Stakeholders 2002 – 2012 (2) PMC Quarterly Knowledge Reviews Chaired FKMC and conducted Federal Benchmarking Bi-annual rotating CKO community strategic meetings Chief Knowledge Officer appointed (OCE) Knowledge Management Policy Authorized Designed & deployed NASA Knowledge Map Established NASA Knowledge web portal KM.NASA.GOV Agency CKO integrated community Initiated Publishing & Communication of NASA Knowledge CKO Search, Find, Visualization Working Group Critical Knowledge Study Critical Knowledge Digital Tools Gateway Activity Knowledge Referee Process approved by OCE & Deputy Administrator Benchmark Boeing KM Portal, PMI Global Executive Council, Merck, FKMC 2014 2015 2013 Knowledge 2020 Critical Knowledge Gateway Benchmarking
  10. 10. II. Areas of Progress - Policy and Governance - Management Imperatives - Knowledge Community and Networks - Knowledge Services Strategy - CKO Roles and Responsibilities - The 4 As  Knowledge Transfer (Chris Scolese)  Career Development Framework  Technical Skills (B. Gerstenmaier) - Knowledge Map and km.nasa.gov
  11. 11. Policy and Governance NASA collaboratively developed and adopted a new knowledge policy in November 2013. Key features: - Federated approach to governance. - CKOs appointed at Centers, Mission Directorates, Functional Offices, with Roles and Responsibilities. - Tools such as the first NASA Knowledge Map based on 6 activity categories that form a common vocabulary and km.nasa.gov to focus communications and distribution.
  12. 12. NASA Management Requirements • Supports and extends Knowledge Services gains for the NASA Technical Workforce towards improved accessibility, searchability, findability, and visualization. • No additional cost. • Least administrative burden. • Formal, rigorous, iterative, and Senior Leader supported. • Integrated, reinforcing, and actionable. • Measurable and objective.
  13. 13. NASA Knowledge Community and Networks • Federal KM Working Group • APQC • PMI • Int’l • Columbia • Agency CKO • Local CKOs/POCs • Communities of practice NASA Government Industry/ Professional Organizations/ Academia
  14. 14. Knowledge Services Strategy Enable accessibility, findability, searchability, and visualization of data, information and systems. Facilitate opportunities through better communications and processes for sharing and networking. Establish best practices for capturing & retaining, sharing & applying, discovering & creating knowledge. Establish maturity model for knowledge effectiveness to measure and validate. Respect local customs & enhance organizational norms (The Federated Approach). The goal: Where does the NASA Technical Workforce go to find and use the critical knowledge required now and in the future to achieve mission success in a highly complex and unforgiving environment?”
  15. 15. CKO Role and Responsibilities (1) Given the complex nature of knowledge at NASA, the agency has adopted a Federated model for coordination of knowledge activities. The NASA CKO functions as a facilitator and champion for knowledge.
  16. 16. CKO Roles and Responsibilities (2) Autonomy Each Center and Mission Directorate determines the approach that best meets its needs. Responsibility Knowledge applicable to all NASA missions and Centers will be shared to the extent possible across the entire Agency. The Federated Model +
  17. 17. Individual Responsibility: 4 A’s
  18. 18. Organizational Responsibility: Transferring Knowledge
  19. 19. Ability - Career Development Framework ENTRY PROJECT TEAM MEMBER OR TECHNICAL ENGINEER MID-CAREER SMALL PROJECT MANAGER OR SUBSYSTEM LEAD MID-CAREER LARGE PM OR SYSTEMS MANAGER EXECUTIVE LEVEL PROGRAM OR VERY LARGE PROJECT MANAGER Core: Foundations of Aerospace at NASA Obtain mentor Join professional associations Core: Project Management & Systems Engineering In-depth courses; team lead assignments; Project HOPE Attendance at technical conferences or knowledge sharing activities Core: Advanced Project Management & Systems Engineering Mentoring In-depth courses; rotational assignments Participation in knowledge sharing activities Core: Executive Program Mentoring; Administrator’s Executive Forum Leadership by example in knowledge sharing Non-traditional and hands-on learning experiences Developmental assignments APPEL core curriculum Cohort selected by NASA senior leaders Performance enhancement for teams Knowledge sharing forums Knowledge sharing forums Performance enhancement for teams LEARNING STRATEGIES
  20. 20. ““...it's still hard to give up the technical side. I am a recovering engineer. But I recognize you just can't do that stuff anymore and to think you still have those skills is also really wrong…“ - Bill Gerstenmaier, HEOMD Associate Administrator career stages
  21. 21. Knowledge Map (1) • Online resource at km.nasa.gov • Information hyperlinked and sortable by: –Organizations –CKOs/points of contact –Knowledge categories (see next slide)
  22. 22. Knowledge Map (2)
  23. 23. km.nasa.gov Links, resources, and updates CKO communications
  24. 24. III. The Road Ahead - Strategic Knowledge Imperatives - REAL Knowledge KS Model - Process Gaps - Big Challenges - Critical Knowledge Referee Process - Digital Tools - Close/ Questions
  25. 25. Strategic Knowledge Imperatives (1)
  26. 26. Strategic Knowledge Imperatives (2) • Leadership: Without leadership, KS results are at best serendipitous, at worst fail. • It is a Project World: An adaptable discipline that maximizes use of learning to promote efficiency and effectiveness. • Knowledge: Organized set of content, skills, and capabilities gained through experience and formal and informal learning that is applied to make sense of new and existing data and information. • Talent Management: Specification, identification, nurturing, transfer, maintenance, and expansion of the competitive advantage of practitioner expertise and competence. • Portfolio Management: Integrates projects with strategy and creates an organizing framework and focus driving organizational purpose and activities. • Certification: Objective, validated standards and functions to benchmark achievement in defined categories of practitioner performance and capability.
  27. 27. Strategic Knowledge Imperatives (3) • Transparency: Nothing hidden for long, especially errors. • Frugal Innovation: Viewing constraints as opportunities in an era of restricted and diminished resources. • Accelerated Learning: Broadest view of learning using digital technologies, knowledge-sharing, learning strategies, social media, cross-discipline content. • Problem-centric Approach: Non-partisan, non-biased, non- judgmental, pragmatic orientation to problems and solutions, focusing on achievement, improvement, and innovation. • Governance, Business Management and Operations: Pragmatic alignment, oversight, approvals, and implementation of project operations that are not administratively burdensome. • Digital Technology: Can result in open, social network-centric, non-proprietary, adaptable, and flexible frameworks to accelerate learning.
  28. 28. NASA’s Gaps in Core Knowledge Processes Capture Share Discover Mature capability: Case studies Lessons Learned Info. System Videos Shuttle Knowledge Console Knowledge-based risk records Mature capability: Online tools and portals Face-to-face events Communities of practice Inadequate capability: Search – enhanced ability to discover Culture – expectation to discover “Nudges” – reminders to discover
  29. 29. Big Challenges • Findability, Searchability, Adaptability • Prioritization of Agency Critical Knowledge • What are the metrics and measures that capture effectiveness and efficiency in the core knowledge processes? • What is the relationship between Knowledge Services, accelerated learning, and reducing complexity? • Can an understanding of biases and heuristics that drive organizational and societal expectations help organizations make better decisions and design better knowledge services?
  30. 30. Example: Agency Critical Knowledge Referee Activity (1)
  31. 31. Example: Agency Critical Knowledge Referee Activity (2) 1.0 PEOPLE 2.0 PROCESS 3.0 KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER & DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY 4.0 DISCIPLINE TECHNICAL 1.1 Raise issues that impact mission success & performance. 1.2 Failure in development is ok as long as people learn from it. 1.3 Stay curious about better processes and improvement. 1.4 Think outside of community of practice & consider strategic implications. 1.6 Engineers hesitant to accept risk because they do not make decision to take on these risks. 1.5 NASA employs more technical authorities than technical workers. 1. 1.7 Lessons of failure are forgotten during relaxation period. 2.1 Innovate for affordability, good versus perfect, see how specs/standards were derived. 2.2 Encourage technicians and engineers to consider innovation and cost in addition to technical excellence. 2.3 Be mindful of affordability and repeatability like successful Shuttle model. 2.4 Make risk-informed decisions. 2.5 Be wary of requirements put on ourselves. 2.6 More emphasis on understanding “why” behind a process, not blindly following the precise standard. 3.9 Lessons must happen at the Engineering Directorates & the Center level. 29. 2.7 The Portfolio level is where norms are set & must be communicated from. 14. 3.7 Capture knowledge at critical program milestones & transfer knowledge to new program/ project formulation. 13. 3.8 Integrate NASA lessons into on-boarding activities. 17. 3.4 Identify useful ways to integrate lessons learned. 16. 3.5 Include a succinct abstract with knowledge content. 15. 3.6 Share a periodic lesson at beginning of standing meetings. 21. 3.1 Would like to use activities like SMD Principal Investigator (PI) Forum & put online. 19. 3.2 Workforce needs ability to find information in a meaningful way. 3.3 Knowledge best gained when people actually experience a discipline, meet people & work real issues. 18. 1.8 Really vital that all people raise honest concerns and problems early. 38. 1.9 MAVEN’s success largely due to effective communications & team building. 31. 1.10 Value the importance of project reviews using experienced people for sharing critical knowledge 1.11 Infuse new project managers with gray-hair reviews. 36. 2.8 A consistent formal process to communicate mission problems is vital. 2.9 Risk management critical for identifying & communicating critical knowledge. 2.10 Many risks pertain to personnel who need to be watched and coached. 2.11 Each problem needs to be addressed, communicated, worked openly and swiftly. 3.12 Hold practitioners accountable to specific best practices. 3. 3.13 Ensure consistent regular documentation of lessons learned. 9.3.14 Should do case study for unique missions. 2.12 Critical knowledge results from effective program & project management. 27. 3.15 PI Forums are valuable for SMD university-led missions. 8. 4.2 Requirements grow at beginning, then need to manage limited budgets, so project loses engineering rigor that adds to cost. 4.5 The engineering/project team must be comfortable and skilled in balancing capability (performance), cost, schedule and risk. 2. 4.3 Prepare engineers to effectively make trades & balances between requirements and cost. 4.4 The requirement may not be attainable within cost, but the capability may have more flexibility. 1.12 Must have culture of communication. 4.1 If there is no recent failure or mishap, can focus away from sharing, learning, testing and conversation in order to do things faster or cheaper. 1.13 Workforce must be free to speak up & say what is on their mind. 35. 28. 1.14 Eliminate toxic management. 1.15 Workforce must know strategy & promote behaviors that support direction. 37. 1.16 Must understand how to change a situation when a team is struggling. 34. 1.17 How to facilitate in a virtual environment. 1.18 Employees must know our critical missions. 33. 1.19 Place accountability for the culture on the people 30. 1.20 Tear down silos & stovepipes. 2.13 Establish top five list of the most critical knowledge & communicate across NASA. 3.9 Create videos of expertise. 3.10 Link critical knowledge to messages & communications. 3.11 Create social collaboration & media location to support culture. 11. 1.21 Need to remind people that failure can happen to you. 32. 3.16 Shouldn’t fail because of lesson learned that should have been learned earlier. 7. 2.16 A waiver must have a rational justification based on solid engineering work & data. 25. 1.22 Poisonous managers or technical experts who shut down communications are bad. 2.14 When budget is tight, wrong approach is to save by reducing solid engineering discipline. 26. 2.15 For success, it is necessary to be preoccupied with failure. 6. 3.17 Executive talks are very useful. 24. 2.17 Managers need to be careful about relying too much on an “inner circle” of advisors. 23. 2.18 A manager must be open & accept they do not have all the technical expertise. 5. 3.18 Case studies at NSC are important lessons applicable for NASA. 4. 3.19 Program & project rules based on lessons learned is a great practice. 10. 2.19 Senior leadership should ensure their expectations and critical lessons flow down to branches. 4.6 Decision-making biases (Normalization of Deviance, Group Think, Abilene Paradox) are very dangerous. 4.7 Make sure technical expertise and learning is being maintained & updated. 1. 1.23 Teams need to talk to each other to generate the lessons learned. 3.20 Forum approach with NASA leaders talking about Aero, technologies, objectives, Safety and Mission Assurance & Center expertise was extremely powerful as it provided tremendous context. 2.21 Most problems are in Formulation Phase. 2.20 Decision-making is a key area for learning. 3.21 Project teams need to take formal time to discuss real lessons learned. 3.22 Offer project teams & leaders tools (lessons learned reviews, storytelling, process mapping). 3.23 Lessons learned should be shared across the broader workforce. 4.8 Aero Research and Development is not the same as operations and development. 4.9 Distributed Roughness Element on the GIII at Dryden went poorly; today there are more cooperative agreements to better track performance as opposed to grants. 4.10 High Ice Water Content project had decision and implementation problems, but the lessons learned were done extremely well. 1.24 Need to communicate more of a mindset of knowledge to be innovative. 3.24 Encourage leaders & managers to communicate critical lessons to workforce. 1.25 Early career initiatives & partners to promote hands-on learning & innovation, including young professionals 2.22 Strike balance on need for disciplined technical rigor & using agile approach. 2.23 Focus on assessing the true proposal value & actual value compared to cost. 2.25 Have annual program reviews establishing program expectations. 2.24 Determining appropriate cost reserves for missions. 3.25 Use formal lessons learned capture approach. 2.26 How to be agile & innovative with inconsistent funding profiles. 2.27 Should better use Center innovation funds. 4.11 Better structure partnerships targeting non-traditional players. Critical Knowledge Referee Disposition Activity · Training/Development · Knowledge Service · HCM · Policy & Procedure · Process · Awareness · Other Legend · HEMOD Green · SMD Blue · HCM Orange · OSMA Purple · AERO Black · STMD Red Category Definitions · People (Factors involving communications, individual behavior, team behavior, organizational culture, attitudes, predispositions and expectations). · Process (Factors addressing specific actions towards defined outcomes in a systems perspective). · Knowledge Transfer & Digital Technology (Factors involving moving knowledge across organizational boundaries and digital information and communications tools that enable and accelerate interaction and learning) · Discipline Technical (Factors involving content and lessons related to specific domains of practice)
  32. 32. Digital Tools for Critical Knowledge (1) • km.nasa.gov serves as integrating mechanism and critical knowledge gateway. • Data and information visibility, searchability, findability, and visualization are key factors driving Agency improvement efforts for Data Management, Knowledge Services, and Analytics. • Critical Knowledge from Knowledge Referee Process drives priorities and administrative actions.
  33. 33. Digital Tools for Critical Knowledge (2) • Additional actions on modern digital tools are moving rapidly by leveraging KM federated infrastructure. Examples:  Creation of JPLTube video with spoken keyword search capabilities.  Capture & sharing lessons at GSFC of over 50 Case Studies & direct support of JPL, GRC & MSFC case development & digital distribution.  LaRC Oral Lessons Learned documentation & digital distribution.  KSC analysis & update of Agency Lessons Learned Information System (LLIS) Database.  Active analysis at JSC of cutting-edge Searchability & Findability. Capabilities & Shuttle Console development that captures thousands of documents & lessons related to the program.  NASA CKO Office Agency Knowledge Map update with new content & interactivity including a new HEOMD Knowledge-Based Risk Dashboard.  New Masters with Masters video series on Lessons Learned and Critical Knowledge & digital distribution.  Young Professionals assisting NASA in citing best digital tools.  Benchmarking best-in-class Knowledge Services (Boeing and others)
  34. 34. Digital Tools for Critical Knowledge (3) - Find a Document Like this…… Instead of this Source: http://www.yasiv.com/amazon#/Search?q=graph%20drawing&category=Books&lang=US
  35. 35. Digital Tools for Critical Knowledge at NASA (4) - Find Similar videos Like this…… Instead of this http://www.yasiv.com/youtube#/Search?q=project%20management%20risk
  36. 36. Digital Tools for Critical Knowledge at NASA (5) - Search Lessons Learned Source: http://cs.ucsb.edu/~jod/topicnets.html Like this…… Instead of this
  37. 37. Digital Tools for Critical Knowledge at NASA (6) - Find Experts Source: http://cs.ucsb.edu/~jod/papers/C-6- LinkedVis-IUI2013.pdf Like this…… Instead of this
  38. 38. Questions web: km.nasa.gov