Document Type

Closed Project

Publication Date

Spring 2005


Dundar F. Kocaoglu

Course Title

Project Management

Course Number

EMGT 545/645


Space exploration has always been one of the most expensive undertakings in the United States [6]. In 1992 NASA announced that they would develop a series of spacecraft that were “faster, better and cheaper” (FBC). Faster was measured with a hard constraint to complete all projects in 36 months, measured from Authorization to Proceed (ATP) to launch. Cheaper meant the projects had a maximum $150M budget. This reduced the risk of previously allocating billions of dollars to a single project or putting all the “eggs in one basket”. Better is measured in relative terms of increasing the capability or data returned for each dollar spent. Obviously the aggressive goals of this charter required a strong supporting project management structure. In addition to increasing the number of project teams throughout the organization, strong team definition, review processes, detailed project documentation and collocation were now requirements for project success [9]. In addition, more project controls were required to implement a “design to cost” strategy where cost and schedule targets were fixed, non-negotiable and project scope had to be fit to the resource constraints. Sixteen projects were executed from 1992 to 2000 under FBC project methodology at NASA. Six of these projects failed leaving a 63% mission success rate. Investigation of the project management methodologies and the execution of these sixteen projects revealed that cost and schedule were reduced faster than project complexity, which left an “unbalance” in the 3-dimensional project triangle. NASA was also not consistently adopting the teamwork principles required for success.


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