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Paying For Studies That Will Just Get Ignored

By Keith Cowing
August 23, 2006

NASA Solicitation: Survey of Program Office Size, Structure, and Practices

“This procurement is to develop a questionnaire and survey between 30 and 50 diverse corporations for information on program office size, structure, organization, and practices, and to develop a series of algorithms that might be useful in sizing future program offices. … There are no alternative sources that have established and sustained a knowledge-sharing network with such diverse corporate entities to support the development of benchmarks of program management practices, structures, and size across multiple industries.”

Editor’s note: Oh C’mon. There are “no alternative sources” anywhere? This sounds like someone responding to an action item. NASA seems to spend more time on these studies about how other organizations do things than they do on the actual rocket science work they are supposed to do in the first place. Most of these studies end up being shelved or ignored. Scott Horowitz’s use of the NESC – supposedly an independent safety center – to rehabilitate spacecraft designs – clearly ignores the original intent of the NESC.

And if anything is ever implemented as a result of these studies, the next Administrator simply changes everything again unless, of course, one of their Center Directors runs to Congress to get it changed sooner. MSFC’s grab of the lunar program is a perfect example.

Besides, any survey that actually reflects reality will show that sucessful private sector copmanies and organizations use a mix of in-house talent and outsourcing – something Mike Griffin has already decided he does not want to do.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.