close this bookVolume 1: No. 18
View the documentNews -- computer industry
View the documentNews -- displays
View the documentNews -- natural intelligence
View the documentNews -- calls for journal papers
View the documentNews -- job opportunities
View the documentDiscussion -- project management
View the documentDiscussion -- software careers
View the documentDiscussion -- generalists and bureaucracies
View the documentDiscussion -- answer to the Monty Hall problem

Engineering productivity tools unquestionably help bring in projects on or under budget, but they are best for problems that require cloning of old solutions. A 1987-8 study by David Murotake (GE Aerospace) and Thomas Allen (MIT Int. Center for Research on the Management of Technology) showed that use of complex tools during conceptual design tended to stifle creativity, whereas use during development freed time for creative work. Results might be different [or not] if the latest generation of creativity-enhancement tools were considered. [Michael F. Wolff, IEEE Spectrum, 1/91.]

A British study by Edward McDonough III (Northeastern University, Boston) has shown that experienced, "associative," systematic leaders excel in producing minor extensions of technology, but that creative, M.S. or Ph.D.-level leaders are best for ground-breaking product-development projects. Routine applications projects would seem ideal for exploiting project experience, but McDonough found that older (bored?) leaders were outperformed by younger ones. He recommends using these projects as training grounds. [Michael F. Wolff, IEEE Spectrum, 1/91.] (Does this introduce age discrimination?)