I agree and I think we have all had to deal with this in the past. Most likely we will have to deal with it again in the future.
The key is in making sure you ask for some specifications before you start a project. You won't always get them but you can always ask. Whenever things need to be rewritten you should make a subtle reference to the specifications, even if they don't exist. Sometimes you can be blunt and non-subtle, sometimes you can't. **shrug**
If the higher ups wonder why things are taking so long be sure to remind them of things that are being done 2 or 3 times (subtle / non-subtle **shrug**). It all counts as work done for the project.
Sometimes people will figure it out and start planning ahead and sometimes they won't. I wouldn't get too worked up about it because it's sure to happen again.
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