This is, literally, the strategic management handbook for NASA. It has a preface to provide a structural overview of the agency and another five chapters (Strategic Management System, Roles and Responsibilities, Strategic Planning, Implementation Planning, and Performance Evaluation) that takes the reader through the strategic management process used. Overall, this is a comprehensive approach to formal strategic planning for a large government agency. While the usefulness of the site may be limited by its context, it is nevertheless an interesting strategy resource.
The site exposes the reader to the structural dynamics used to formulate strategy, implement it, and then evaluate it.
Target Student Population:
Students from community college level to graduate level could make use of this site. Especially if they're studying organizational behavior or strategy. There's definite use if the student is planning on going into a public sector job or non-profit.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
None, but in order to fully benefit from the site, it's best that the student have at least some understanding of management and the strategic process.
Type of Material:
Reference Material/Handbook. There are some charts/graphics that could be useful to help illustrate organizational concepts.
The information presented is well done and could provide resource material for discussion in class. However, NASA does have a very idiosynchratic mission and it is reflected throughout the handbook.
Internet access and browser.
Evaluation and Observation
The document is very representative of the 'real thing' and is a great indicator of the degree of information used by NASA and many other public or private sector enterprises. In addition, because NASA is a agency we're all familiar with, it makes it easier for the student to relate to the process. The document clearly lays out all of the steps taken and the responsibilities of each party in implementing theprocess.
This material is long and tedious. There are many acronyms and protocols the reader must sift through in order to understand the material. In addition, NASA might not have the best agency model to start applying to real world businesses.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
It is always interesting for students to see that what is taught in class (in this instance, strategic planning) is really applied in the outside world. This case illustrates the importance of strategic planning, including evaluation, in a large government agency.
The material is very lengthy and detailed and much of it pertains specifically to NASA. It is a difficult read and may not keep the reader engaged.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is easy to use and easy to follow and it is well written. The chapter structure also makes it easy to use as a reference source.
Because it is text driven it is not very engaging. It'd be best to cite this in class as one possible example of how to think about strategy.
Other Issues and Comments:
The document should be made available as a PDF file to allow for keyword searching. In additionn, the document is very information-dense, making it hard to extract essential messages from the document. However, the article is very relevant to strategic management and could help support/illustrate discussion in planning, organizing, staffing, motivation, and control functions in organizations.