The fall of the Firefly

an assessment of a failed project strategy

Choices made early in a project determine future success. Missteps in early phases will cause trouble later in the project's life cycle. The U.S. Air Force's acquisition of the T-3A "Firefly" trainer was just such a troubled project. Rather than develop a new aircraft, the Air Force decided to save time and money by buying a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) trainer. But significant aircraft modifications undermined the integrity of the COTS strategy. This paper suggests four project lessons: Any project must be managed as a system of interrelated parts; a project strategy must be flexible to accommodate changing circumstances; testing must be done in realistic environments; and concurrency carries with it benefits and dangers.
member content locked

Log in or join PMI to gain access

or Join



Related Content


Publishing or acceptance of an advertisement is neither a guarantee nor endorsement of the advertiser's product or service. View advertising policy.