Whether it is controlling interplanetary spacecraft, managing medical records, or "merely" staying employed, it seems like more of us are facing the pressure of developing mission-critical software. It's tempting to think that reliability is all that matters, but we're also forced to adapt to constantly advancing technologies, shifting priorities, and relentless competitive pressures. Is it wise to embrace innovation and take risks when so much is at stake? Can you afford to be agile when failure is not an option? Can you afford not to?
Dr. Jeff Norris is the supervisor of the Planning Software Systems Group at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His group develops operations systems for a variety of space missions including the Phoenix Mars Scout, Cassini Saturn Orbiter, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the Spirit and Opportunity Mars Exploration Rovers-- for which his team was co-winner of the 2004 NASA Software of the Year Award. He is currently leading the development of the uplink system for the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory Rover mission and operations software development within NASA’s multi-center lunar Human Robotic Systems technology development project. Jeff founded the JPL OPS Lab, an advanced agile development facility for the design, development, and deployment of mission operations software and human-robot interaction technologies. Jeff helped operate the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers as a Tactical Activity Planner during the prime mission. He received Bachelor\\\'s and Masters degrees in Computer Science from MIT, a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Southern California, and lives with his wife and two children near Pasadena, California.