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SELDP Program Elements
July 9, 2012

Program Elements

The NASA SELDP consists of the following 13 elements:

1. Assessments

Assessment instruments will be used to identify strengths and areas of development needed for program participants. These assessments will target leadership skills and abilities and will be used to help coach the participants during the development year to improve their effectiveness. Assessments may include:

  1. A Systems Engineering 360° Instrument Based on the NASA Systems Engineering Behavior Study
  2. Emotional Intelligence Instrument
  3. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
  4. Other assessments determined important to the majority of current class participants.

2. Developmental Assignments

Participants engage in developmental work assignments designed to challenge them and increase their understanding of systems engineering and NASA. Participants are matched to one or more developmental assignments that will expand their scope of experience and understanding about how systems engineering works and its impact on achieving successful program and project goals. Each participant is required to undertake developmental work assignment(s) for a minimum of six months up to one year at a location other than their home Center. Participants from JPL engaging in assignments at NASA Centers and participants from NASA engaging in assignments from JPL should refer to SELDP Assignments to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for additional guidance.

2.1. Safety and Mission Assurance Component

An understanding of the role of safety and mission assurance (S&MA) in a program or project is critical to effective SE Leadership. If the Advocates determine from their gap analysis of the participant that additional exposure to S&MA is needed, an appropriate S&MA component will be added to the participants SELDP developmental requirements. It is possible for this component to take place at the participant's home Center, either before or after their assignment or during their assignment at their host Center.

3. Technical Training

Prior to the start of their assignments participants identify and engage in technical training critical to their success in the program. Training includes coursework determined necessary and recommended by the Center and recorded in the participant's IDP, Course work normally includes APPEL and may include other training options. See available APPEL SE Training. The hands-on assignment is the primary technical learning vehicle in SELDP. Participants should not take more than one week (every 6 months) away from their assignment to engage in training classes unless the learning is critical to the successful completion of their assignment duties.

4. Leadership Development

Leadership development experiences such as executive forums, learning and using leadership models and theories, and/or experiential learning exercises are identified and provided to program participants during Leadership Workshops. These leadership elements are reviewed and redesigned annually to meet the changing needs of NASA and the unique needs of each class.

5. Leadership Training

Systems engineering leadership training is identified to meet the needs of program participants. Key leadership learning areas such as systems thinking, problem solving, communications, executive presence, strategic thinking, and other training courses are provided based on the Systems Engineering Leadership Behaviors/Competencies.

6. Benchmarking

Participants attend benchmarking opportunities at NASA and at leading system engineering industry and/or the Federal government locations. These benchmarking site visits are focused on helping participants learn from other world-class systems engineering organizations.

7. Mentoring

Once a participant is accepted into the SELDP, they are assigned a senior systems engineer mentor from their home Center. (Note this may or may not be the Center Advocate.) This mentor helps the participant prepare for the program and provide guidance on developing his or her learning needs and strategy for the year. Participants are also assigned a developmental assignment program mentor at their assignment location who helps guide and direct their learning while on assignment.

8. Coaching

At some SELDP workshops, as well as in individual sessions during the year, participants have access to leadership coaching and feedback from program leaders and coaches supporting the program. Along with the assessment process above, leadership coaching is used to assess gaps in systems engineering leadership aptitudes and behaviors and to develop strategies and learning to close those gaps. This gap analysis focuses on the SE behaviors identified in the NASA Systems Engineering Behavior Study and the personal attributes identified in The Art and Science of Systems Engineering. This resource is intended to allow highly individualized input on assessing leadership strengths and areas needing development. Coaching continues to support the successful transition of the participant back to their home Center or next assignment after the conclusion of the SELDP.

9. Job Shadowing

Job shadowing is an activity that allows an individual to spend time observing a top Systems Engineer on the job. It allows a participant to better understand how his or her textbook learning can effectively be applied in the real world of NASA programs and projects. Participants are encouraged to shadow leading Agency System Engineers to observe their actions and interactions and the behaviors they exhibit which make them effective. These short shadowing opportunities also serve as an opportunity to gain additional mentoring and advice from these Agency leaders. Again, since the main focus of SELDP is on the hands-on developmental assignment learning, participants should spend no more than 2 or 3 days in shadowing activities during their assignment.

10. Center Visits

When practical, SELDP workshops are held near NASA Centers to allow for participants to visit various System Engineering offices and programs and gain a greater understanding of NASA's complex systems engineering activities through observation and briefings by Center and Engineering Directors.

11. Gap Analysis

Each participant is evaluated against Agency systems engineering and leadership competencies to identify gaps in their experience. This gap analysis focuses on the Art and Science of systems engineering leadership and the technical policies, procedures and processes and leadership behaviors defined by the OCE.

12. Quarterly Home Visits

Visits will be individually scheduled to provide each participant an on-going opportunity to visit with their Center Leadership and/or Supervisors to discuss progress and gain advice on next steps.

13. Agency and Center Systems Engineering Leadership Participation

Opportunities are designed throughout the SELDP year to ensure ongoing communication between SELDP participants and Agency and Center Engineering Directors.

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Page Last Updated: May 5th, 2015
Page Editor: NASA Administrator