Kelly Johnson’s Guide To Management

These principals work for almost any development effort. It’s better to have strong experienced teams than it is to have masses of people. Too many people especially overmanagment stifles innovation

The Arts Mechanical

Kelly Johnson was the director of the Skunk Works at Lockheed.  In many ways this was one of the first centers of excellence in a larger company. To this the Skunk works has a better run of bringing projects to successful conclusion than just about any engineering organization. Here are his principles of management.

Kelly’s Rules

1. The Skunk Works manager must be delegated near complete control of his program in all aspects. He should report to a division president or higher.

2. Strong but small project offices must be provided both by the military and industry.

3. 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).

4. A very simple drawing and drawing release system with great flexibility for making changes must be provided.


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