Full refund within 30 days if you're not completely satisfied.
•-An ID card scheme for benefit claimants was scrapped in 1999
after nearly £1bn was spent on it. The National Audit Office found that “skimping”at the start of the project led to “vast delay and waste of money”. It added: “Mistakes of this kind are made time and time again”. •-The National Programme for IT(an NHSproject) was origi
nally expected to cost £2.3bn over three years, but in June 2006 the total cost was estimated by the National Audit Office to be £12.4bn. •-The cost of the Jubilee Line (London underground railway) was
estimated in 1994at £2.1bn. The final cost (it was two years late) was £3.5bn. •-The Eurofighter jet (a UK/European project) cost, in total,
£50bn. It was £30bn over budget and completed a decade late, according to a 2003BBC2report. •-A £1bn upgrade to the Tornado GR-4fighter jet left it unable to
fire modern “smart”bombs, giving it less capability than before the “upgrade”. As a result, the jets couldn’t be used in the Kosovo conflict, forcing British forces to rely on older GR-1s and Harrier jets. •-The New Deal welfare-to-work scheme was originally budgeted
at over £5bn, with an estimated cost of £4,000for each job. In July 2000an independent report put the real cost at £11,000 per job. •-Refurbishment and building work on the headquarters of MI5
and MI6cost over half a billion pounds—more than twice the estimate. •-The Channel Tunnel was financed with private money, but this
didn’t stop it going over-budget by £5.2bn (original estimated cost: £4.8bn; final cost: £10bn). [Sources: BBCNews Online, 5/9/2000; Wikipedia (NHScost); The Guardian, 7/3/2000; ‘Eurofighter’, BBC2, 11/11/03; The Guardian, 7/3/2000; The Guardian, 14/7/2000; The Guardian, 18/2/2000; BBCNews Online, 5/9/2000]
SUMMER 2008 TASK COMPLETION WISHFUL THINKING SYNDROME ¶ It’s not just government and corporate managers who are inept at scheduling—it seems to be a universal human trait. In the 1990s, researchers at Sussex University conducted a five-year study into “Task Completion Wishful Thinking Syndrome” (TCWTS), which concluded that tasks always take longer than we expect. From wallpapering a room to developing a new fighter aircraft, we all tend to underestimate the duration of the jobs. We also fail to learn the lesson from previous missed deadlines. ¶ This possibly explains why, after decades of applying “advanced”management tools, there’s no evidence of improvement in the scheduling profession. The 2002international study on project management mentioned earlier (one the most comprehensive of its type) couldn’t put it plainer:
We therefore conclude that cost underestimation has not decreased over time. Underestimation today is in the same order of magnitude as it was ten, thirty, and seventy years ago […] No learning seems to take place in this important and highly costly sector of public and private decision making. [Underestimating Costs in Public Works, Journal of the American Planning Association, Summer 2002]
GUILTY TIME-THIEVES ¶ Another aspect ofTCWTSis the common feeling of accomplishing very little relative to expectations. Most workers probably feel a little guilty at five o-clock, after finishing less than half of their allotted tasks. Employers then have an easy time persuading them into working overtime. Each year employees are giving £23bn in free labour (unpaid overtime) to their bosses, according to the TUC. ¶ Some companies regard “unproductive”workers as guilty criminals. As Barbara Ehrenreich (author of Nickel and Dimed) noted, the retail giant Walmart calls it “time theft”when an employee “does anything other than going to the bathroom when [they’re] supposed to be on company time”. ¶ Meanwhile, the ambitious types who get promoted to management evidently never learn. They schedule work as if each worker is able (with the “right”motivation) to use every valuable second in productive service to the company.
NOTES FROM THE COUCH