1194. Matrix Management at the Aeronautical Systems Division


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E Low: 1194. Matrix Management at the Aeronautical Systems Division. 1977.



Since the fission of the Air Materiel Command some twenty years ago into the Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) and the Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC), the Air Force has been committed to the ‘project management’ approach. The AFSC Product Divisions such as the Aeronautical Systems Division (ASD) have been characterized by multiple strong, largely self-contained system program office (SPO) organizations accompanied by relatively small central functional staffs. In contrast, private sector organizations tend to be primarily functional structures. Most of the literature on matrix management is thus oriented toward functional companies moving via the matrix toward project management. We are moving the opposite direction. That difference creates certain problems unique to ASD.
The ASD structure has reflected the Air Force dedication to the project management concept. Our primary exception to SPO total self-sufficiency has been the ASD/EM organic engineering force (currently comprised of about 1700 people) which has been matrixed to the SPO’s for a dozen years. Otherwise, our functional skills have been distributed to project organizations. That organizational philosophy, coupled with the rapid expansion of aeronautical system acquisition activities in the last eight years, has led to the creation of an increasing number of project organizations. The F-111, F-15, F-16 fighters, B-l bomber, A-10 attack, and C-5 cargo aircraft all grew into sizable SPO organizations within that period.


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