–The Skunk Works manager
must be delegated practically complete control of his program in all
aspects. He should report to a division president or higher.
–Strong but small
project offices must be provided both by the military and industry.
–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).
–A very simple drawing
and drawing release system with great flexibility for making changes
must be provided.
–There must be a minimum
number of reports required, but important work must be recorded
–There must be a monthly
cost review covering not only what has been spent and committed but
also projected costs to the conclusion of the program. Don't have
the books 90 days late, and don't surprise the customer with sudden
–The contractor must be
delegated and must assume more than normal responsibility to get
good vendor bids for subcontract on the project. Commercial bid
procedures are very often better than military ones.
–The inspection system
as currently used by the Skunk Works, which has been approved by
both the Air Force and Navy, meets the intent of existing military
requirements and should be used on new projects. Push more basic
inspection responsibility back to subcontractors and vendors. Don't
duplicate so much inspection.
–The contractor must be
delegated the authority to test his final product in flight. He can
and must test it in the initial stages. If he doesn't, he rapidly
loses his competency to design other vehicles.
applying to the hardware must be agreed to well in advance of
contracting. The Skunk Works practice of having a specification
section stating clearly which important military specification items
will not knowingly be complied with and reasons therefore is highly
–Funding a program must
be timely so that the contractor doesn't have to keep running to the
bank to support government projects.
–There must be mutual
trust between the military project organization and the contractor
with very close cooperation and liaison on a day-to-day basis. This
cuts down misunderstanding and correspondence to an absolute
–Access by outsiders to
the project and its personnel must be strictly controlled by
appropriate security measures.
–Because only a few
people will be used in engineering and most other areas, ways must
be provided to reward good performance by pay not based on the
number of personnel supervised.
is said that Kelly had a 15th rule "Starve before doing
business with the damned Navy. They don't know what the hell
they want and will drive you up a wall before they break
either your heart or a more exposed part of your anatomy.”