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Pete Theisinger
Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

"Driving to the Review Board, October 2001"

P2K: How big a deal is this review?

Pete Theisinger: It's a major deal, because it allows the Review Board which is comprised of people outside the project, some of them outside of JPL, to look at the detailed design for the Operations system, and pass judgment on whether they think it's capable of meeting the requirements, and whether they think it's capable of being built in time, and for the resources that we have. So, they will write a series of what are called "Requests For Action," RFA's in our nomenclature, and we will look at those, and decide what to do with those, and we could get over 100 of those in the three days of this Review.

P2K: Some people say there really is a "critical" in "Critical Design Review"... That the whole purpose is to be fairly adversarial, to get you guys to think hard and deep... How much fun is it to go through a Critical Design Review?

Pete Theisinger: Well, I think the Review serves several purposes, hm... One of which is in fact the process of getting ready for it. Because you are expecting it to be a penetrating examination-"adversarial" I think is a little too strong-but we firmly expect it to be a penetrating examination of what we have done, and if they ask questions that we are discomfited by, that's good news, because that forces us to address the issues that they are presenting and come to some resolution. So it's a big deal. Jim Erickson, who's the manager in charge of the system being reviewed today, has probably spent the last 2 months, you know, in a process of design teams and peer reviews to get prepared for these 3 days. So it's a major step forward for us.

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