Home » Risk Management » The space shuttle and the art of the project schedule estimate

The situation has understandably increased pressure on NASA, which hired Boeing Co. and Elon Musk’s SpaceX to build a new generation of vessels to shuttle U.S. astronauts to the station. Both companies are scheduled to fly two test flights next year for NASA’s commercial crew program, including one each that will carry two crewmembers—an ambitious schedule that could slip into 2019. “I think we have a shot at 2018” for the flights with crew, Kathryn Lueders, NASA’s program manager for the commercial crew program, said at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in Las Cruces, N.M. “There’s a lot of things that have to go exactly right,” she said. “I think the big challenge is to make sure that we give them the time that, if everything doesn’t go exactly right, to be able to fix any problems that we have.” Americans Will Head to Space Again Without a Russian Taxi, Bloomberg Businessweek, Justin Bachman · Oct 13, 2017

Yup, we need a good schedule based upon our existing experience with these kind of projects. Here, the PM seems to be artly explaining that a schedule had to take into account all the typical challenges in this type of effort by emphasizing that perfection might not happen. I believe it was Edison who said he had to do 99 things that didn’t work until he got the hundredth that did work. Now those 99 “wrong” things were just as essential and as part of the process and he also learned from them for the future. Many people don’t seem to get it that challenges are normal and I’d say necessary in a good project. Too many people plan based upon perfect execution and no issues being encountered even when no project they’ve ever managed had ever came close to such perfection.

Also see It’s the schedule, stupid

How artfully do you explain the reasons behind your realistic schedule?

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