In 1975, thermodynamicist and propulsion expert Ben R. Rich took over the role of CEO at Lockheed’s famous Skunk Works division, inheriting an unconventional organization-within-an-organization that had become, at the height of the cold war, the envy of defense contractors and private enterprise alike. As chronicled in Rich’s account of the years before and after his promotion to the most coveted role in American aerospace, the Skunk Works became renown for designing cutting edge aircraft under extraordinary pressure and impossible timelines, often coming in under budget.
I recently held a project management summit at Vortex Mobile where I asked my project managers to question each of our existing processes and come up with new approaches to any of our endemic challenges. Although refactoring code is commonplace among progressive software development companies, few companies talk about refactoring methodology. For many, it’s easier to either cling to outdated processes (remarkably, Staples still offers next day delivery on carbon paper) or invest in the development of cumbersome enterprise-scale methodologies intended to predict and accommodate any conceivable circumstance.