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“Houston, we have a problem.”

April 30, 2012

I love the film “Apollo 13.” As a kid I watched hours of Gemini program coverage. Obsessed, really. As a five or six year old, one night I dreamed of a recovery mission in the Pacific. That’s when the Navy would find the capsule after splashdown, pick up the astronauts and helicopter the ship to the carrier deck. Unfortunately, on this particular dream mission, a robotic, green alien suddenly emerged from the capsule and sent this pre-K child into a fiery re-entry to mom and dad’s bed.

“It isn’t rocket science” isn’t a cliché for nothing. As President Kennedy proposed in 1961, “landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth” was, and is, a very lofty goal. I hate cliché’s but to achieve that goal required equal balance of people, process and technology.

By the time Apollo 13 began its 240,000 mile journey to the moon, we’d been there twice. The American public had become bored with the program. People had tuned out. Well, until the space-s#!t hit the oxygen tanks. That’s when the mission morphed from just another trip to the moon, into a reality show called “To Live or Die in Earth’s Trajectory.” Suddenly, the people, process and technology were really put to the test. Fortunately, there was balance in the force, and the “failed” mission became one of NASA’s finest moments:

  • People – Leadership played a huge role, and the skill, experience and training of the astronauts, mission control employees, and partners enabled them to perform extraordinarily. All the hours of study and simulation saved lives. Training enabled performance.
  • Process – I love the scene where the engineers on the ground had to figure out and build a process to “fit a square peg into a round hole” to filter deadly carbon monoxide out of the air. Ingenuity solved the problem, but a detailed process enabled the astronauts to actually implement the solution 100,000 miles away. Another process helped them turn power back on when they had almost none of it. Who knew process efficiency was a life and death thing?
  • Technology – Some of the technology failed, but the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) was used in a unorthodox and untested manner to help manually guide the men home safely. The LEM was the lifesaving backup system they didn’t know they had.

Workforce management is not life and death, but it can be a journey to ascend from manual antiquation to optimized automation. Kronos services can be an accelerant to help get you there:

  • People – Are yours trained to optimally use your Kronos system? KnowledgePass can be the resource to get them there.
  • Process – How has your organization changed since you first implemented Kronos? Do you think your workforce management processes and configuration are aligned with those changes? An optimization assessment can help you find out.
  • Technology – Is it sound? Is it performing optimally? Do you have a backup plan in case of disaster? Cloud services can help make sure your answer is a NASA-like “affirmative.”

Speaking of journeys, this is my 100th post on my (work)blog. I’m having fun doing it. Please let me know if there are technology services topics you’d like to read/comment about.

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