NASA’s Huge Mistake

by | Mar 25, 2022 | Process Improvement

Why companies need to have a good process for their business

Did you know that NASA made a $193 Million mistake? 

In 1998, Nasa launched a satellite that was supposed to travel to Mars and arrive safely in orbit close enough to make observations of Its climate conditions. However, there was a crucial error. The rocket engineers manufactured the thruster to receive communication in Newtons, while simultaneously the software engineers assumed the rocket needed information in pounds of thrust. The result was a miscommunication that crashed the satellite into the surface of Mars. Talk about a catastrophic waste of resources. 

Now, this is NASA, the most ingenious organization on earth, yet they were still not immune to the destructive forces of miscommunication, and neither are we. 

To give a practical example of this, I recently consulted for a company that installs grass sod. Their estimating department created a bid that used square yards. However, their installation department reported production using rolls. The vendor invoiced in pallets. Their accounting department had a project budget that used TDOT Units. This is a recipe for confusion. All departments must start speaking the same language. The good news is that it is easy to fix if you can give your current process some attention. 

Now I want you to listen to this assignment. Take one of your active projects and look at how the estimate was created, and  then make sure that it’s organized appropriately using the same language and units. It should flow seamlessly through each department, eliminating the need for modifications. You will probably find inconsistencies, and as small as they seem, they can have huge implications. If you would like to discuss your current process, shoot me a DM, and we can connect.

To learn more about Nasa’s failure, visit here.