Course Details


Course Summary

There are few good program managers. Program management is not taught in college and, for the most part, program managers must learn by collecting scars on their own backs. It is this author’s view that most of what it takes to be a good program manager can be taught. This three-day course will take the first giant steps toward teaching the student the practical aspects of becoming a good program manager. The course covers realistic pricing and scheduling, the work breakdown structure, techniques for conducting successful (and brief) program reviews, finding out the real status of subsystems, recognizing impending disasters (before they occur) and methods of making technical tradeoffs to maintain schedule and budget. Techniques for participatory management and for reporting progress to customers and one’s own management are discussed. Techniques of managing a program to a price target are discussed with examples. Available software for aiding program managers is discussed.

Course Materials

Lecture notes, including useful forms, spreadsheets and other tools, actual spacecraft examples.

Who Should Attend

This course is extremely useful to all program managers and to those who would like to become program managers and advance in the company. Program managers and company managers who would like to assure that the program is completed within budget should attend this course. Many unconventional practical techniques of program management are discussed. These techniques apply to most programs, not just spacecraft programs.

What You Will Learn

Constructing a good Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). Pricing and Scheduling. Project Organization. Manpower Allocation. Conducting program reviews to assess the status of the program. Critical path and risk management. Progress reporting Use of company data bases (of past programs). Participatory management and calibrating people. How not to cost overrun a program.

Course Outline

  1. Understanding the customer and program objectives, preparing program plans, work breakdown structures.
  2. Pricing and scheduling with participation by the performers. Use of existing company experience.
  3. Program organization, staffing and cost allocation. Creation of reserves.
  4. Material acquisition and subcontract management.
  5. Program performance monitoring, meetings and exercising control.
  6. Forecasting trouble.
  7. When things do not go right.
  8. Tradeoffs to maintain schedule and to stay within budget.
  9. Program progress (technical, schedule and cost) assessment with Cost-To-Complete estimation.
  10. Reporting to management and the customers.
  11. How to remain in the good graces of your customer.
  12. Examples.
  13. Leadership.