Managing the Apollo program: the Thursday Update Notebook

Another compelling anecdote from James R. Chiles’ Inviting Disaster: Lessons from the Edge of Technology, this time about how Joe Shea, NASA’s Apollo program manager, managed his program. By 1964, NASA and its contractors had 300,000 people working on the project:

Shea’s main management tool wasn’t that complicated, either, just a looseleaf notebook that his staff filled each Thursday with progress reports, crisis bulletins, and cost figures sent in from every branch of the Apollo program. Shea marked up the pages working through the weekends, then releasing his incisive comments on the following Monday to be answered in time for the next notebook.

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