Stories from Boeing? LO12811

John Farago (
Fri, 7 Mar 97 18:56 GMT0

Replying to LO12758 --

Miriam writes:
> I am a
> project manager and team lead of a "self-directed" team working on
> Intranet delivery of business process information to the enterprise
> here at Boeing Commercial Airplane Group. Our larger job is to provide
> a context for the new business processes that Boeing is developing and
> to make the transition from data to information to knowledge about how
> Boeing builds airplanes ....sharing that knowledge with the Boeing
> community.

Miriam, a very warm welcome to learning-org. There are far too [few?]
participants of this e-mail conference who are still employed and working
in the real world of making and selling real things, so perhaps an
airplane maker will help to keep our ideas close to solid ground.

Last year (or was it longer ago?) I saw on UK television's 'Channel 4', a
series of programmes 'The 21st Century Jet' about the design and building
of the Boeing 777. I wish I had recorded those programmes because for me,
despite what you say about the command and control structure and the
continuing functional divisions, what came over ( and perhaps it was only
a public relations exercise for Being) was that something called 'Working
together' did introduce ideas about learning together across functional
boundaries, e.g. between design and manufacture, as well as learning
across boundaries with suppliers and customers as far away as Australia
and Japan.

It looked as if every one was caught up in the enthusiasm of 'making it
happen'. The programme did not shirk the trauma that during that period
people were laid off and that must have caused anger, fear and resentment.
It seems that even if you perceive that Boeing still has a long way to go,
there are many people there who understand the basic philosophy that
everyone from new recruit and manufacturing operator to the CEO must go on
learning from each other within the company and from customers and
suppliers outside the company.

Do people at Boeing talk a lot about 'learning' or is the focus more on

Within the bounds of commercial confidentiality, I (and probably other
readers of <learning-org> would love to share your experiences of success
and failure in your efforts.

John Farago

-- (John Farago)

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