Quality, Features, and Schedule

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).

In some ways, the rollout of the Obamacare web site is reminiscent of this. The hurried schedule appears to have hurt quality. The rational thing to do now would be to let the schedule slip and resolve the quality issues.

Speaking of which, here is one recent report.

Recent changes have made the exchanges easier to use, but they still require clearing the computer’s cache several times, stopping a pop-up blocker, talking to people via Web chat who suggest waiting until the server is not busy, opening links in new windows and clicking on every available possibility on a page in the hopes of not receiving an error message. With those changes, it took one hour to navigate the HealthCare.gov enrollment process Wednesday.

Those steps shouldn’t be necessary, experts said.

Neither was the last sentence.

This entry was posted in business economics. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Quality, Features, and Schedule

  1. ThomasL says:

    But it was my favorite. :)

  2. Lord says:

    Features are what should slip as it helps increase quality while improving schedule.

    As comments aren’t working on Public Choice – The conclusion is incorrect. Housing policy helps existing owners, of both structures and land, not builders and realtors, and when policy doesn’t change for long periods of time, it helps or hurts no one, but becomes the ambient environment against which all decisions and pricing are made. Long standing policy has NO public choice implications beyond inducing resistance to change that would alter existing status quo. (Is public choice really that naive?)

  3. aleapatthewheel says:

    “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).”

    I’m not calling Obama a communist. And I’m pretty sure that you aren’t calling Obama a communist. But the comparison between healthcare.gov andand the Soviet space program, where this kind of decision wasn’t made, jumps out.

Comments are closed.