Basic Planning Terms

The following are brief definitions of basic planning terms.  They are loosely based on the work done by Prof. Porras of Stanford University and others. 

Mission: The fundamental reason for the organization’s existence. It should not change over time. 

Current NASA Mission Statement: To advance and communicate scientific knowledge and understanding of the earth, the solar system, and the universe. To advance human exploration, use, and development of space. To research, develop, verify, and transfer advanced aeronautics and space technologies.

Vision: An image of a desired future organization and/or activity that will support the mission. It is a specific destination that is both concrete and achievable, usually within 5 to 10 years. There can be many visions over time that support an organization’s mission.

Original NASA Vision: Put a man on the moon by the end of the ‘60s. 

Strategic Plan: A set of actions and objectives that work to accomplish a vision. They should be broad and action-oriented, and include quantifiable long and mid-term goals. If vision is the what; strategies and goals are the how. The time scale should be equal to or shorter than that of the vision it supports, with specific interim benchmarks.

Original NASA Strategy: Initiate a crash program to develop the necessary hardware utilizing partnerships with leading corporations and academic institutions as much as possible.  Simultaneously, develop the technology to support man in space and train a cadre of astronauts.  Test hardware and manned flight technology through a series of more aggressive test flights and specific milestones, ending with a manned landing on the moon by the end of the decade.

Tactical Plan: A set of specific action items and goals intended to implement the elements of the strategic plan during the next one or two years.  Individual goals should be based on quantifiable metrics (including timelines) whenever possible. 

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