NASA seeks to curb "PowerPoint engineering"

It's about bloody time. The NASA Engineering and Safety Center, created in the wake of the Columbia crash, has released the results of its first studies, and has also commented on the engineering culture prevalent at NASA.

Along with four technical reports, the NESC produced a four-page newsletter summarizing the technical activities and some lessons learned. The biggest lesson, [NESC Director Ralph] Roe said, is to curb the practice of "PowerPoint engineering."

The Columbia report chided NASA engineers for their reliance on bulleted presentations. In the four studies, the inspectors came to agree that PowerPoint slides are not a good tool for providing substantive documentation of results. "We think it's important to go back to the basics," Roe said. "We're making it a point with the agency that engineering organizations need to go back to writing engineering reports."

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