Day 8 – H: Homework

George Santayana, the famous philosopher coined the phrase “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Let me share an example that echoes the phrase in the true spirit.

Boeing was facing some serious issues with two of its plane programmes, namely, 737 & 747. The programmes received a lot of attention and were expected to be landmark initiatives but serious problems crept up and the projects were in risk of being derailed.

The company set up a special task-force and initiated ‘Project Homework’. The mandate for the task-force was to compare the development processes of 737 & 747 as against 707 & 727, two of the most successful and profitable planes. The deliverable for the group working on the project was to compile a set of ‘lessons learned’ with the aim to use the learning in new (future) projects. It took 3 years for the task-force to complete an in-depth review of the processes in question. The output resulted in an inch-thick booklet and series of recommendations.

At this stage a few members from the task-force were hand-picked and assigned to work on the 757 & 767 start-up initiatives. Guided by experiential learning and leveraging the lessons learned during the process analysis, the team produced the most successful, error free launches in the organisation’s history.

Reference: “Building a Learning Organization – Harvard Business Review

The topic for tomorrow’s post is Innovation.


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