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Maurice Legg

Appendix I.  I joined the project about 4 months after the kick-off and already there was talk in the corridors that the project was late and behind schedule. I’d been there before and my experience was that if joined the conspiracy to keep quiet I would eventually be blamed. Talk was of hundreds of fixes that were necessary and were not in the contract. There had been a review with NASA and a list existed - the Martinedes list- of some of the fixes necessary. With the agreement of my boss, I tasked each of the responsible engineers to identify each area within their responsibility in which new work was possibly necessary and to estimate its cost and to estimate the probability that it would eventually be necessary. I then went to the contractor and asked him for his current estimate of the work in his contract. These activities took about three months and at the end of it, I added all the numbers together to find out that seven months after the contract started the estimated final cost had increased to 143% of the budget. This was a bad finding particularly as countries individually were allowed to opt out of the programme if the estimated cost exceeded 140%. I used the finding to make the contractor sharpen his pencil and I negotiated the total down to 139%.  I then reported this finding to the Director General and there was a lot of concern and recrimination but the program survived. I survived also – nobody could blame me but the Project Manager was fired (though not immediately) and was replaced by Dr Pfeiffer, another bull-headed German. Moreover I was in control and, since my title was Project Controller, I’d earned my pay. I’d passed my probationary period and worked through at least two difficulties which were new to me. One was that the person I replaced was personally very popular and in consequence I was less so. The second was that my boss and my secretary were sleeping with one another and that is quite a tricky situation, not covered in management books. The rest of my career there was less complex! Mostly I continued doing the sort of thing I’ve described already: my staff negotiated 1400 contract changes, reviewed thousands of invoices and I prepard annual budgets and monitored and reported on what was happening to the project. There was a lot of minutiae to attend to but overall I didn’t find it particularly stressful- nothing like Nadgeco nor working for myself. The final outcome was 138% of the budget ie about 1 billion dollars all covered by invoicing which I had approved as covering authorised work.

 

 

 

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