Quality, Features, and Schedule

By | October 18, 2013

From the book Lost Moon, retitled Apollo 13 after the movie was made:

Apollo was downright dangerous. Earlier in the development and testing of the craft, the nozzle of the ship’s giant engine…shattered like a teacup when engineers tried to fire it. During a splashdown test, the heat shield of the craft had split open, causing the command module to sink like a $35 million anvil to the bottom of a factory test pool. The environmental control system had already logged 200 individual failures the spacecraft as a whole had accumulated roughly 20,000.

In January 1967, one of the first Apollo spacecraft caught fire during an on-the-ground test, killing astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee. At that point, NASA decided that quality was more important than schedule and they overhauled the Apollo project (although they still managed a moon landing 2-1/2 years later).

Far too many software projects are like that. It usually takes a serious failure, one where blame cannot be shifted, for managers to realize that their schedule is unrealistic. Via Quality, Features, and Schedule | askblog.

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