Developing a Missile: The Power of Autonomy and Learning Answer The Joint Air-to-Surface Missile (JASSM) program is a next generation cruise missile of United States Air Force. It will enable them to destroy the war sustaining capabilities of the enemy. This missile program aimed at producing a missile which is lethal, precise, flexible, survival and adverse weather capable. JASSM aimed at finding accuracy within the missile system. It used Imaging Infrared system which uses Global positioning system to identify and destroy the target. The Mission statement of JASSM program is to provide the bomber and fighter aircraft with the capability of striking heavy defended high value and critical targets.
This program is designed to provide the war fighter with a precision and autonomous strike weapon at an affordable cost. This Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile program was launched in April 1995. Terry Little didn’t want to repeat the same mistake he did in the past as in Tri-Service Standoff Attack Missile. The program got cancelled after six years of hard work and it resulted in loss of several billion of dollars.
Answer 2 The reputation of Terry Little as an Air Force Program Manager was good. He was known as an innovative program manager. Terry Little main objectives was to avoid the mistake of TSSAM program which resulted in loss of billions of dollars. Hence he considered an unmitigated disaster program so that all programs didn’t repeat the same mistake. As a program manger he saw the fact that the program started quickly. He made it a point that unless the firm who took the contract was serious about completing the program as mandated, money would not be available from the Office of Secretary of Defense.
He made it a point to award the contract to two competitors. They would have to develop a plan within two years under the watchful eye of the government (Laufer, Ward and Cockburn, 2012). After the two year one of the contractors will be awarded contract for production of the missile. As a project manager he took formal approval from the Office of Secretary of Defense.
He focused on making serious proposal to the contractor, field the proposal and do the necessary evaluation. There were five companies who were interested in Raytheon, McDonell Douglas, Lockheed Martin and Hughes Texas Instruments. After he joined JASSM program he started collecting information about the status of the program every year. He understood that the JASSM team was not able to grasp the concept and thus led to their dissatisfaction. Most of their peers thought that the most important aspects of the job was making decisions, controlling performance and conducting reviews.
But Terry Little had other things in his mind. He gave priority to developing collaborative relations, instilling confidence within the people who are working in the program and fostering alliances. Terry Little had experience under his belt to guide him deliver such projects by implementing acceptable practices. His objective was to empower the team so as to rise to the challenge. He removed the bureaucracy out of the way so as to facilitate the work. He presented a unified and concise plan to the workers.
Initially Office of Secretary of Defense presented a detailed document of what they should do. But Terry didn’t believe in spelling out every detail of a program when it starts. Terry expressed his displeasure with the system but eventually had to give in (Bower, 2012). Terry selected his own team and took sufficient time in ensuring that everybody on board embraced his principles of reform and made them understand that he functioned as a project integrator and that the actual plan was prepared by the whole team. The management philosophy of Terry is based on trust and autonomy.
He didn’t intervene in the process of technical decision making. He made people unafraid of being accountable for results. He believed that the key to get maximum out of any people is to have high expectation form them. During the entire process Terry stressed the need of reducing the cost. Terry treated cost like a technical issue and thus was very critical of the issue. He saw price as a Key Performance Parameters and made sure that it is met.
He defined performance in ways that made the team meet the requirements of the project within the constraints of affordability. Answer 3 Initially when Terry Little joined the JASSM program, he called all of the project members and even before introducing himself he told everybody that he wants people to work for the project and those people who don’t want to come on board might look for another job. Thus he scared a lot of people. There were people who were unsure whether they would be in JASSM program office. Terry Little had a bad reputation of not hesitating to fire people.
Regarding trust ad commitment Terry is very serious. He expects his workmen to defend his position and if anyone couldn’t defend it, he would tear him apart. He wants everyone to be absolutely clear and should not buck under pressure which is not possible all the time. Terry was only concerned about his area of work. He didn’t look at things from the overall perspective and what would be good for the entire program (Burns, 2012). Terry Little sometimes took at tough stances on several issues.
Like in one case he orders to throw all the military standards out of the way so that they don’t have to follow it. He didn’t like the concept of many military standards which existed and thus wanted a single military standard. It was an extreme approach to follow and this sort of change is not healthy for the program. This was like the situation where customers said that if they want to win they can’t do the things in the old way.
Hence it resulted in change of norms for the entire team. He took affordability as the main to be the foremost. This made everyone feel as if they were in an experimental space which can be disconcerting at times. Projects like JASSM needed stability in place but change in such system was slower. In programs where one has to develop missile, it needs everybody to be onboard.
He made peoples uncomfortable and they were unsure whether they will stay in the JASSM program office. Such fears within the mind of employees are not right. They need to have security in the mind so that they can concentrate on their job. Terry Little decided to implement change which is harmful if not implemented throughout the project.
Change requires time and being a technical program such a missile development it will take considerable amount of time for them to implement the change process which will result in delay for the entire program (Dodaro, 2011). Answer 4 Strategies need to be taken to improve the operational performance of the program by awarding the contract to firms who have a good record of producing missiles. They must be followed up and see it they face any problem and try to resolve those. This will not delay the entire program. The employees should be encouraged all the time and they should be allowed to take their own decisions so that they feel that they are not being monitored continuously.
This would make the employees innovate and design processes which will make the missile achieve precision and accuracy. Being such a technical program, any major change should not be implemented and there should be meetings held between the management and the team so that all the problems can be discussed. This will result in quick decision making and eventually remove bureaucracy.
References Autonomy and Learning. Retrieved from: http: //continuingstudies. wisc. edu/uwcpl/ch01.pdf. Bower, P. (2012). Judy Stokley and Terry Little Lead Acquisition Reform. Retrieved from: http: //www. crosstalkonline. org/storage/issue-archives/2000/200011/200011-Stokley. pdf. Burns, J.M. (2012). Leadership. New York: Open Road Media. Dodaro, G.L. (2011). Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs. London: DIANE Publishing Laufer, A., Ward, D. and Cockburn, A. (2012). Developing a Missile: The Power of