Front End Planning is arguably the single most important process in the building project life cycle. Known in architecture terms as programming, schematic design, and design development, this phase of the project is many times poorly performed leading to less than successful outcomes. Front End Planning is focused on creating a strong, early link between the business or mission need, project strategy, scope, cost, and schedule and maintaining that link unbroken throughout the project life. Anecdotally, many companies admit that good front end planning is rare, however it is required for every building project. This paper will focus on past and current front end planning research conducted by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin. The results of over a dozen case study evaluations will be presented from an ongoing research investigation from projects worth over $1.5 billion. Additionally, statistics on front end planning effectiveness, including the relationship between front end planning and cost and schedule growth, will be shown using a sample of projects worth several billion dollars. Key findings and advice from this study will be provided for industry practitioners. Copyright ASCE 2006.