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What Sci-Fi Movies Teach Us About Project Management Skills 186

Posted by samzenpus
from the I'm-afraid-I-can't-accept-that-proposal-dave dept.
Esther Schindler writes "It's certainly fun to pretend to find work inspiration from our favorite SF films. That's what Carol Pinchefsky does in two posts, one about positive business lessons you can take away from SF films (such as 'agile thinking can save many a project (and project manager) in a crisis' from Robocop and team motivation lessons from Buffy), and the other, 5 Project Management Horror Stories Found in Sci-Fi Movies, with examples of the impact of poor documentation on Captain America."
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What Sci-Fi Movies Teach Us About Project Management Skills

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  • Re:Science Fact (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday December 20, 2013 @12:47AM (#45743297) Journal

    ... just look at the Apollo program.

    A triumph of the human spirit, of technology, of ingenuity, sure - but mainly, an overwhelming triumph of project management.

    And then NASA changed their management. And the new management dropped "belt and suspenders" "managing for Murphy's law" in favor of "managing for success". And they launched Challenger when the solid-fuel booster O-rings were too cold to seat properly, over the objections of the engineers.

    And the space program was put on hold for 2 2/3 years.

  • Re:Science Fact (Score:4, Informative)

    by dbIII (701233) on Friday December 20, 2013 @03:45AM (#45743801)
    What's also sad is the engineers then had to sneak around their management to get to talk to the one guy on the inquiry that could not be threatened with loss of reputation if he delivered bad news. Some pressure was put on Feynman to drop the issue but thankfully he ignored it and the ugly truth came out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 20, 2013 @07:43AM (#45744437)


    When it comes to sci-fi movies, you can't forget that little underappreciated masterpiece

  • Re:Science Fact (Score:5, Informative)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (retawriaf)> on Friday December 20, 2013 @09:42AM (#45744927) Homepage

    That's true, but what's even sadder is that those damn O-rings should've never even been there in the first place. The SRBs were meant to be a one piece monolithic design.

    No, they were never "meant" to be anything - there is no "absolute" Shuttle design from which the existing one was a departure.

    However it was changed into a segmented multi piece O-ring design because pork had to be provided to Morton Thiokol at the insistence of the senator from Utah, who held the purse strings. (Thiokol, being in Utah, cannot ship a large one piece by ocean and could only build segmented ones shipped by rail)

    No, they were changed to segmented design because nobody could figure out how to cast *one* motor grain with consistent burn properties (the monolithic grain took so long to cure that it stratified) - and the Shuttle required a matched pair. Nor could the figure out how to prevent the grain from flowing out the nozzle (the weight of the monolithic grain exceeded the strength of the grain material, resulting in the grain creeping under it's own weight). Not to mention the problem of handling a million plus pound motor without damaging it (as little as 3mm flex over the length of the casing could delaminate the grain from the casing and crack the grain).

Brain off-line, please wait.