The following are from Kelly Johnson of Lockheed's
"Reducing the time to evaluation of a system
almost always leads to lower costs, greater flexibility for
change, improved overall performance, and less risk."
- The Skunk Works manager must be delegated practically
complete control of his program in all aspects. They
should report to a division president or higher.
- Strong but small project offices must be provided
both by the military and industry.
- The number of people having any connection with the
project must be restricted in an almost vicious manner.
Use a small number of good people (10% to 25% compared to
the so-called normal systems).
- A very simple drawing and drawing release system with
great flexibility for making changes must be
- There must be a minimum number of reports required,
but important work must be recorded thoroughly.
- There must be a monthly cost review covering not only
what has been spent and committed but also projected
costs to the conclusion of the program. Don't have the
books ninety days late and don't surprise the customer
with sudden overruns.
- The contractor must be delegated and must assume more
than normal responsibility to get good vendor bids for
subcontracts on the project. Commercial bid procedures
are very often better than military ones.
- The inspection system as currently used by ADP, which
has been approved by both the Air Force and Navy, meets
the intent of existing military requirements and should
be used on new projects. Push more basic inspection
responsibility back to subcontractors and vendors. Don't
duplicate so much inspection.
- The contractor must be delegated the authority to
test their final product in flight. They can and must
test it in the initial stages. If they don't, they
rapidly lose their competency to design other
- The specifications applying to the hardware and
software must be agreed to in advance of contracting. A
specification section stating clearly which important
military specification items will not knowingly be
complied with and reasons is highly recommended.
- Funding a program must be timely so that the
contractor doesn't have to keep running to the bank to
support government projects.
- There must be mutual trust between the military
project organization and the contractor with very close
cooperation and liaison on a day-to-day basis. This cuts
down misunderstanding and correspondence to an absolute
- Access by outsiders to the project and its personnel
must be strictly controlled by appropriate security
- Because only a few people will be used in engineering
and most other areas, ways must be provided to reward
good performance by pay not based on the number of
"When the prototype approach for system development is
used, ultimate production of the system must be considered
throughout the design and evaluation phase."
For more information on how ASTECH Engineering may be able
to help you, please contact Jeff Wilson at email@example.com
or call 316-304-6157.
© Copyright 1996 ASTECH Engineering. All rights
reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced in any
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