As part of my office relocation project this month I’m reviewing, purging and scanning materials from my project archive. Today I scanned a few of my 1980s projects at Rockwell International and Lockheed. It’s amazing all the advanced R&D these companies gave me to do: Building a PDM for the B1-B program, Developing and implementing Product Lifecycle Management, Group Technology Based Shop Floor Scheduling, Automated Archive and Retrieval of CAD drawings, Predictive Analytics of Aircraft Systems and Engines. I wonder if current executive management will understand the lessons from this era; real mentorship, the discovery projects (e.g., IR&D), and the value of think time.
Its also amazing how we managed to design and build these system with little automation and tools: Modeling and Drawing tools such as Visio and ITHINK were not available. I started using a CAD/CAM system –Computervision CADDS III & IV– to diagram and flow chart as personal computers (no IBM PCs on market yet) were just starting to become available which resulted in senior executives asking me to build diagrams fro their projects also rather than using the graphics department. I started studying some of the works of IBM guru’s then to add to my intellectual toolkit; Ed Yourdon, Gerald Weinberg, Tom Demarco. Robert Benson, and later John Zachman etc. Never did I think I was going to continue in the IT field, join not one but two of the greatest IT companies (IBM and Microsoft), and have as mentors these greats in industry. Today I’m still privileged to not only still maintain associations with such people but asked to collaborate together at times.