Great expectations

turning failure into success-and vice versa

In 1954, President Eisenhower announced the failure of the nation's massive interstate highway system. In retrospect, that project has been rather successful and become the envy of the world. The Hubble Space Telescope and Tigershark fighter jet are other examples of projects that evade easy assessment. This article delves into some of the difficulties of defining whether a project is a success or a failure. Cost failures can be due to overoptimistic planners, scheduling or technical underperformance, simple errors, changing funding profiles, scope creep, or perfectionism. Schedule failures can stem from overly optimistic project managers, client appeasement, and resource allocation. Also discussed are some of the causes of technical performance failures and failures which arise from politics. Due to changing perspectives over time, today's project failure might become tomorrow's project success.
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