By Erasmus H. Kloman
One of the valuable by-products of the U S. space program is the body of knowledge concerning management of large complex development project activities. The brief span of years since the formation of NASA has witnessed the rapid evolution of a variety of systems and techniques for directing the combined efforts of thousands of individuals cooperating in closeknit programs in which Government, university, and private industry play mutually reinforcing roles. Many of the major learning experiences, such as those in the Apollo management system, have been applied to other activities within NASA. There has been only limited effort, however, to distill the generalized management experience gained in other NASA projects for application outside the space agency itself.
In recognition of the need for continuous improvement and refinement of management techniques, NASA commissioned the National Academy of Public Administration to conduct a study of the management of the Surveyor and Lunar Orbiter projects, two of the major NASA precursors of the Apollo program. The study was designed to provide an analytical record supplementing the relatively limited case literature on the practical aspects of such management activity. An objective record of the significant milestones in the management of these two endeavors, it was felt, would help to inform both managers currently engaged in such activity and those who will assume such responsibilities in the future.
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