Mars code: JPL and risk based design

4 responses to Mars code: JPL and risk based design


    and just an aside MSL (mars science lab) missed it’s launch window so had to wait 3 years to go, because of programmatic management issues ;>) All the previous mission were “program managed” by a local (Denver) contractor. MSL was not. The culture of “we can’t miss the window” prevails.

    Here’s the poster child of how to have both technical and programmatic success


      Matthew Squair 04/03/2014 at 12:43 pm

      I ‘deployed’ an IMP/IMS approach onto a recent project, I was amazed, but probably should not have been in retrospect, that the project management and scheduling talent ‘just didn’t get it’. Their expectation? That the schedule should follow the WBS, old school. Not that their WBS was crash hot, just the WBS no dictionary.

      Leaving aside the paradigm shift, I do take away from this the lesson that most people find it very difficult to understand that there’s more than one way to view a project (or problem). I’ve seen similar sort of religious wars erupt over issues such as whether an engineering BoM is better or worse than a production BoM. Answer again, you need both…



    What is happening on the DOD ACAT1 programs is the IMP is flowed down from the government. In fact they are the ones that are supposed to define the IMP. The Events are defined in the procurement processes – 5000.02 and the Defense Acquisition Guide (DAG). The Signifiant Accomplishments and their Accomplishment Criteria and how they are to be built is defined in the IMP/IMS Preparation and Use Guide. But it is stuck on V0.9.

    The IMP is “owned” by Systems Engineering and the DAG says as much. The Measures of Effectiveness and Measures of Performance at IMP attributes. The Technical Performance Measures are assigned to Work Packages in the IMS as exit criteria used to adjust the BCWP of Earned Value.

    This is all coming together over the next few years with the improvements of the acquisition guidance and efforts in PARCA, where I am a contractor through

    But the principles of stating up front the needed effectiveness derived from the needed capabilities, the needed performance and those pesky Key Performance Parameters, that if not met should mean the cancelation of the program are starting to “gel” with the Root Cause Analysis of many ACAT 1’s. See Rand and IDA for Nunn McCurdy breach Root Causes.

    In the end it’s all about describing in units of measure meaningful to the decision makers what “Done” looks like. Without this we won’t recognize it when it arrives, except when we run out of time and money.