My Best Mistake

The “My Best Mistake” series is an array of stories told by project managers and knowledge practitioners in the NASA Community. Each story tells how the author learned a lasting lesson from a mistake. If you would like to share your “Best Mistake” with the NASA Community, please contact Susan Snyder or call 301-837-3918.

My Best Mistake: Justin Smith’s “When ‘I Don’t Know’ Is the Right Answer”

My Best Mistake: Justin Smith’s “When ‘I Don’t Know’ Is the Right Answer”

When I started working at NASA in 2007, I was on top of the world.

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My Best Mistake: Steve Garber’s “The Value of Humility”

My Best Mistake: Steve Garber’s “The Value of Humility”

Luckily, it was a lesson learned during an exercise.

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My Best Mistake: David Oberhettinger’s “Why I Love Checklists”

My Best Mistake: David Oberhettinger’s “Why I Love Checklists”

So far, my life and career have weathered many mistakes.

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My Best Mistake: James Fanson’s "Throw a Drowning Man a Life Ring"

My Best Mistake: James Fanson’s "Throw a Drowning Man a Life Ring"

I was project manager for GALEX, the Galaxy Evolution Explorer.

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My Best Mistake: Weiping Yu’s "To Thine Own Self Be True"

My Best Mistake: Weiping Yu’s "To Thine Own Self Be True"

I made my mistake over and over again for many years.

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My Best Mistake: Eugene Hajdaj’s “What Could Go Wrong?”

My Best Mistake: Eugene Hajdaj’s “What Could Go Wrong?”

At Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Equipment Test Facility, I learned the hard way that supposedly bulletproof designs are not necessarily as trouble-free as they may appear.

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My Best Mistake: Bill Gerstenmaier’s “Balancing Budgets and Work”

My Best Mistake: Bill Gerstenmaier’s “Balancing Budgets and Work”

I’m not sure that the decisions I made as operations manager of the Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) program nearly three decades ago were necessarily mistakes, but the problems that ultimately killed the OMV were certainly real.

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My Best Mistake: Dan Keenan’s “Where Journeys Begin”

My Best Mistake: Dan Keenan’s “Where Journeys Begin”

Anyone who has ever had the courage to go out into the world and do something knows there are only two kinds of mistakes: ones we can recover from and ones we cannot recover from.

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