In the next decade, short-lead-time projects will be the key to survival both for the electronic industry and for the free world. To keep ahead in the race against obsolescence, military products must move from design concept to delivery in the shortest possible time. To keep the industry healthy, companies producing non-military items must be efficient and competitive.
But how is short lead time achieved? Speeding up an engineering project bears some semblance to speeding up a digital computer. After the components (the engineers) have been pushed to their dynamic limits, further increases can only be obtained by going to parallel and asynchronous operation. With both computers and engineering projects, however, parallel and asynchronous operation schemes demand additional attention to the organization, timing and communication between the system elements.
This report outlines some of the engineering and management methods for speeding up the project without overdriving the engineers or letting the system fall into disorganization. (Electronic Design, Dec. 7, 1960, p. 36)
This is the intro to the issue's cover article. It's interesting that the problem later termed time-to-market has such deep roots. In the early '60s, aerospace projects, for example, were getting more ambitious and more complex, and project management was becoming a separate discipline, with its PERT charts and critical paths. Apparently they worked, culminating in the 1969 Apollo moon landing.