Leadership: The key to navigating your spaceship

Leadership: The key to navigating your spaceship

  • Posted by Gerhard Pramhas
  • On 14. March 2019


Originally, I only planned to write two articles using Apollo 11 as an example. As it turns out, this highly successful global event also offers a third component that is particularly interesting for you as a developer, project manager, and manager. In my previous blog post, I mentioned that consistency and goals by themselves are not enough to achieve a breakthrough with your innovation if your team isn’t playing along. The question is  ̶  whose game plan are they following and how well are they doing it?

Plan your course prior to launch

For you as a project developer, creator, or manager, the only thing more important than the time after the start of the project is the time before you get the go-ahead. Because before everybody can begin working according to your plan, you have to lay the groundwork so that you can stand behind each and every step 100 percent. Even if your co-workers are the ones carrying out the steps on an operational level, and your part is solely to create the strategic plan, you still need to design the plan as if you were going to execute each of these steps yourself.

At about 53 minutes and 53 seconds into the film, the documentary Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo provides some very interesting insight in this regard. Immediately before Apollo 11 landed on the moon, the former NASA flight director said the following words to his crew (and I paraphrase):

“We have prepared well for this moment. I will stand behind every decision you will make.  We came into this room as a team, and we will leave it as a team.”

How is your spaceship running?

Even though most of us are not necessarily working on space technology, I wanted to show you how many different ways a technical project can be examined. Think of your current project as if it were Apollo 11  ̶  your personal, ideal spaceship that you want to fly to the moon and back successfully, while making sure everyone on board comes home safely again. Which brings us back to Apollo. It is only the team that wins, just as it is only the team that can process and overcome the setbacks and learn from them. As a project manager or someone with responsibility in another role, you have no reason to doubt the competence of your team. If you do, you’ve made mistakes in the run-up. So what are you waiting for? Give your team the trust they deserve. If on top of that the task is actually interesting, then (almost) nothing can go wrong.

If you are looking for support in guiding your team, feel free to contact me. I will gladly support you with my professional expertise during a free initial consultation of 30 ̶ 45 minutes. You can reach me by phone at +43 676 9560164 or by e-mail at gerhard@pramhas.eu  ̶  I will be happy to devote my time to you and your project.