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Beautiful Teams by Jennifer Greene, Andrew Stellman

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Making the Project a Reality

Getting Started: Being Ready with Options When Management Calls

Scene: Bob Williams' office, late 1979. Bob is the vice president/general manager of the 2,000-person Software and Information Systems Division, one of six divisions in the TRW Defense and Space Systems Group (DSSG). Barry is his chief engineer and advanced technology business area manager.

Bob: I've just come back from a DSSG General Managers off-site about improving productivity. Corporate in Cleveland is making a big push to get the auto parts division to be more competitive with the Japanese, and wants everybody in TRW to focus on improving their productivity. It looks like the company will put up money for productivity initiatives if there's a good business case for them. I think it's worth a try. Do you think you can put something together for us?

Barry: Definitely. This fits with a lot of improvements we've talked about but haven't found funding for. Our Constructive Cost Estimation Model (COCOMO) provides us with a good framework for a business case. It shows how much our productivity goes up or down as we change some of the cost drivers like tool support, turnaround time, reusing components, and people factors. This last driver would fit with your ideas about multiple career paths for our people. We could probably use some of our local area network technology to get everybody interactively working and communicating. And we could probably get added support from some of the Defense Department's ...

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