Original Date: 05/01/2000
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Technology Planning
Healthy Research & Development investments are vital to the stability of advanced systems programs. Previously at Northrop Grumman Defensive Systems Division (DSD), this process involved proposing projects and allocating funds over a period of several months. Internal Research and Development (IRAD) budgets were then approved and allocated for the projects. However, this process did not yield satisfactory levels for Contract Research and Development (CRAD). A goal was set for CRAD dollars to be committed at three times the IRAD amount. Due to the expedient process of approval and allocation, customer needs were not satisfactorily being met with the proposed projects and CRAD investments were less than projected. In 1996, Northrop Grumman DSD introduced Technology Planning to improve the methods by which approval and allocation of IRADs occurred.
Technology Planning is a disciplined process for the planning and execution of internally funded technology development. The process is closely tied to the development of the Long Range Strategic Plan and the Annual Operating Plan. Technology Planning includes the definition of specific needs and requirements for specific product lines; the ranking of those requirements; and their translation into specific technology development objectives. In addition, the process requires the close coupling of customer-funded Research & Development to ensure synergy between customer needs and technology development. A key change is that the projected funding for IRAD is approved in May, prior to the project proposals being made. Plenty of time is then allowed for the Principal Investigators (PIs) to prepare summary project proposals by August for next year. Plans are reviewed/revised for the Operating Plan in October. Executive reviews for market segment funding and PIs detailed plans are completed concurrently in December. Projects are then reviewed quarterly to encourage program office participation. Items reviewed may include objectives, open issues, determined risks, and restatements of the tasks they are doing.
Technology Planning enables Northrop Grumman DSD to focus its R&D efforts on those projects in which the customer wants to invest. These projects are also supported by an increase in CRAD investments by approximately a factor of three. Technology Planning also provides the company with out-year business stability, current year project stability, less planning overhead, and an organized structure to take better advantage of opportunities.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.