To lead and cooperate

A Note to The Reader

This section concerns attitudes and progressive ways of working with respect to internal cooperation in the business and with customers and partners.

It is imperative that product development projects have clear ground rules for managing and following-up on the steady flow of results being produced. It is always essential that cooperation as a whole within a business rests on well-established core values.

It is important that projects are staffed in such a way as to produce the right combination of different competencies. Having good reference groups is invaluable in securing a good mooring in those businesses undergoing change.

And selecting the right individuals for the reference groups is equally important. They should possess broad business and technical know-how to ensure sound knowledge throughout the value stream concerned.

The right people for change, they have a solid value base, anchorage, right momentum and such informal leaders who will share their experiences.

Background

In the middle of the 2000s, a core value was defined as a cornerstone in the business. Core values represent both a common way of thinking and creating the conditions necessary for productive attitudes and behaviours.

The core values were established as an initiative of the management team at the time and were implemented as a project within a major change programme called Gunder.

Initially, the management team worked with issues that highlighted and clarified the historical legacy, the present situation and a likely future business scenario.

The aim of carrying out core values work is to illustrate the significance and importance of each employee's attitude and behaviour and to give everyone the opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of Saab's core values and its business situation. This work had significant strategic impact on the ability to cope with the major challenges faced by the company at that time.

Recommended reading

You may also be interested in the following sections, which tie in with this account: In chapter Adaptability for new requirements under the heading "An Altered World”, under heading ”Security Policy Changes” and in chapter Having a low life cycle cost under heading ” Effective Maintenance concepts”.

This section concerns the marked areas in A Journey of Change in the Aircraft Industry

Summary

It is imperative to listen to the ideas of employees and to be able to assess and determine that which can be further developed in the business. It necessitates that a leader be well-versed and interested in the fundamentals of practical work. A leader must determine whether the working procedure is being conducted pursuant to the applicable rules and if it can be improved so at to further increase capabilities.

Core values involve observing and respecting one another in daily work, but also being clear regarding the requirements and expectations placed on the individual. Providing feedback, confirmation and constructive criticism is important, but boundaries must also be set where necessary.

This also applies to authorising and entrusting someone to develop challenging ideas which may improve efficiency and create value.

Over the years, Saab has employed various collaborative forms to manage customers' requirements for products. Working procedures for this have changed over time. Collaboration with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration commenced at the start of the 2000s via various "Edition Groups" which delineated an incremental development within different technology areas. Collaboration concerning the entire 39 Gripen system also existed.

The collaboration became more specific later in the 2000s for certain strategically important areas. Examples of such areas include simulation, tactical abilities and maintenance. Each area consisted of several work groups, which focused on total capabilities.

As a customer, it is imperative to truly understand what is required for different types of operative missions and to be able to articulate this in such a way that the technical solutions do not become too complex and, consequently, unnecessarily expensive.

Description of content

  • Core values afford all employees an essential and fundamental way of thinking to be used to understand and transform business challenges into effective work.
  • Material was produced for a concept called "Core Values in Projects". It was created to familiarise all employees working in projects with issues concerning core values.
  • As a customer, it is imperative to truly understand what is required for a number of operative missions and to be able to articulate this in such a way that the technical solutions do not become too complex and therefore unnecessarily expensive.
  • Extensive efforts are made to ensure that client and external parties' prerequisites and requirements are properly understood and are possible to practically convert into results and deliveries.

What Provides Sustainable And Lasting Change?

A culture and powerful driving-force has existed within Saab for decades to continuously advance industrial capacity as well as the capabilities of products. Saab is thus grouped with world-leading companies within military fighter aircraft. The capacity for continuous development is anchored in the companies values.

Core Values

In the middle of the 2000s, a core value was defined as a cornerstone in the business. Core values represent both a common way of thinking and creating the conditions necessary for productive attitudes and behaviours.

The core values were established as an initiative of the management team at the time and were implemented as a project within a major change programme called Gunder.

Initially, the management team worked with issues that highlighted and clarified the historical legacy, the present situation and a likely future business scenario.

The aim of carrying out core values work is to illustrate the significance and importance of each employee's attitude and behaviour and to give everyone the opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of Saab's core values and its business situation. This work had significant strategic impact on the ability to cope with the major challenges faced by the company at that time.

Values defined as core values comprise Expertise, which combines a strong tradition of knowledge with continuous learning, Trust, which means that Saab as a company and all employees are honest, trustworthy and that we keep our promises, and Drive, which can be defined as a burning interest for new ideas permeating the entire organisation. We are receptive to change and take pride in being fast and flexible.

Working intelligently has allowed the organisation to develop broad and in-depth knowledge characterised by innovative thinking and professionalism. It also means that we can - and should - be proud of the results continuously being produced and delivered.

Trust is established by keeping promises; an important prerequisite for this is having an open work atmosphere with clarity in decisions and management. Personal responsibility for commitments undertaken and for results to be delivered is fundamental at all organisational levels.

Significant commitment and drive must exist for capabilities to be continuously developed throughout the business.

Everyday job satisfaction is a prerequisite to consistently face challenges and deliver above expectations.

This necessitates that all leaders communicate and work on attitudes, encourage employee development and lead the work. An important prerequisite for this is realistic operational planning, wherein goals and road-maps to achieving the goals are clearly defined. For leaders, experience sharing is also a critical element that must exist. A leader's primary role is to create the right conditions in the organisation. This means that projects and operations alike are provided the conditions necessary to fulfil delivery commitments.

Efforts involving attitudes and behaviour were essential to the core value work. The manner in which leadership was to develop was also delineated herein, along with central values in this context.

To be able to define what the courage to be a leader entailed, the following needed to be ascertained:

  • What does leading change work entail?
  • How should one act and think to be willing to make decisions?
  • How should one take initiative, and generate enthusiasm and perseverance among employees in order to fulfil commitments in multi-year projects and with good results?

To develop leadership within Saab, different types of recurring leadership meet-ups were arranged. All leaders underwent leadership training in numerous types of courses, both long and short.

To be receptive to employee ideas is crucial and is conducive to being able to assess and determine that which can be further developed in a business. This necessitates that a leader be well-versed and interested in the fundamentals of practical work. A leader must determine whether the working procedure is being conducted pursuant to the applicable rules and if it can be improved so at to further increase capabilities.

Core values involve observing and respecting one another in daily work, but also being clear regarding the requirements and expectations placed on the individual. Providing feedback, confirmation and constructive criticism is important, but boundaries must also be set where necessary. This also applies to authorising and entrusting someone to develop challenging ideas which may improve efficiency and create value.

Leaders should also be teachers and serve as role models. They should be able to handle reactions that may arise within organisations and from individual employees as a result of change work. Leadership becomes especially important once a path has been decided upon. This then calls for a willingness to be clear, steadfast and to drive results pursuant to established goals and expectations. The key to success in this regard is to have a professional approach to all tasks.

Leadership is characterised by constant improvement, actively dealing with and addressing the root causes of different types of problems, and ensuring that this is done continuously and quickly, and to never obfuscate problems!

Saab's management has actively worked with core values for a very significant reason; to be able to cope with all the challenges encountered by the business during the past 10 years. This involves all employees being very familiar with the current business situation and understanding what is needed to cope with challenges related to finances and deliveries.

Leadership Style

An important reason the organisation managed to cope with all the major challenges was due to the work involving core values and leadership style. Leadership style in an organisation is critical. However, an organisation must be ready to accept various leadership styles or problems will arise. It is fundamental for a leadership style to be based on Saab's core values.

It is imperative that leaders appointed to new product development projects work with issues regarding core values, as standards and behaviour are established early on in a project. Therefore, "game rules" have been established over the years relating to behaviour and work methods in product development projects.

Core Values in Projects

Once the core value project had produced its results in the middle of the 2000s, refinement and adjustment was required to fit the specific relationships existing within major and prolonged product development projects. At the end of the 2000s, initiative was taken to develop methodology and training material specifically oriented towards product development projects.

The material was reworked into a concept called "Core Values in Projects". It was created to familiarise all employees working in projects with issues concerning core values.

The training format was designed so that a group could gather around work material referred to as project sheets. The training material contained questions on practical project work and how the group were to react to these.

The material also contained numerous issues the group was required to reason out and resolve together. The different groups were assembled to provide a broad spectrum within the groups. The idea was for a dynamic to materialise. The format was designed so that participants could share their experience and personal perspectives with regard to working in projects.

The courses provided training on how to deal with values in day-to-day practical situations. A prerequisite to a group producing the established results was that each group member understood their task and the expectations of them in their roles in projects. Furthermore, a group dynamic and a good working atmosphere was also required. These questions constituted the fundamental theme of the training.

To manage roles and responsibilities, a certain amount of room to manoeuvre is required for each role holder and work group. Quality in cooperation from a long-term perspective is based on how simple or complex it proves to handle the replacement of project members. The course focused on how to deal with behaviour, attitudes, and the use of language, and the impact these have on motivation in a group.

Feedback to Employees

It is incredibly important to be able to provide employees with meaningful feedback concerning challenging issues. Having a feel for when feedback is appropriate is paramount. One should then be very objective and willing to bring up matters that require measures.

It is also important to be able to accept feedback, to learn from mistakes, to assess the relevance of criticism, etc. as these all affect the relationships existing within a group.

The course covered the aforementioned issues as well as the handling of disputes and changes.

Significant insights gained included how to create and influence good project culture in order to obtain effective work groups. The importance of communication can never be overstated with respect to the professional relationships between project members and in achieving professional behaviour in projects.

As a final assignment, each group was tasked with defining success factors and the game rules deemed as essential in creating a good work culture in a product project. The training was a resounding success and cultivated a better work atmosphere which had a huge impact on the work, and resulted in improved project efficacy when measured over time.

Some valuable conditions leading to good results in the training included the number of experienced moderators overseeing the work and that they were able to generate a dynamic between the various training groups.

Maturity Development

Another success factor stemmed from the fact that all employees in the business area had previously undergone training and that they had worked with core value questions from a more generalised perspective. One can hereby understand the importance of maturity development. All participants were already accustomed to thinking about core values. Now came the next step in maturation, to adapt the training to prevailing conditions.

By ensuring that training groups included a mix of different experience and expertise, results were greatly improved compared to previous training courses with more homogeneous groups. Another important factor in the results being valuable and concrete was that all employees were familiar with the challenges in the business area and conditions in the product project. The course constituted a large number of employees, approx. 500.

Leadership Training

Spanning a few years at the end of the 2000s and beginning of the 2010s, several different leadership courses were held within, among other things, the framework for the Lean initiative. A two-day course was held in project management work geared towards all project managers in the development organisation. The course covered the capabilities necessary to be a project manager within a product development project.

Other courses invested in at this time focused on mentorship and training in "coaching" leadership.

Elements one can have an impact on in a product development project are those that may possibly come about. This means it is also necessary to have working procedures and routines in place to secure things that may cause some form of problem before they occur. It is imperative that "Early Warning" routines are employed.

Further work was also done during this time concerning core value questions from a leadership perspective. This applied to challenges a leader was required to handle, including addressing problems at an early stage.

Measurements on how management, governance and follow-up functioned were introduced into product projects. A review of these was conducted on a monthly basis within project management meetings. Here, different subjects were discussed concerning leadership and how to act practically in projects.

The most crucial success factors, which contributed to changed work procures, were the aspects of leadership and culture advanced by management. This was particularly relevant to issues related to core values which require employee relationships to be characterised by open communication, receptiveness and trust. A flexible support system with mentors is a prerequisite for changes to spread swiftly.

"Lessons Learned" in a Project Handbook

Something experienced at the beginning of the 2000s was that, in many cases, product development projects could not create a reasonably sustainable plan. Frequently recurring viewpoints involved incomprehension of the work flow.

Workers had either a vague understanding - or no understanding at all - of when they were to complete their tasks or why. Frequently recurrent symptoms of delays involved calls being made to those who were "behind schedule". By then the deadline had already passed, i.e. the problems stemmed from a lack of communication. The calls were coming from various stakeholders who were worried or angry about the delays.

This is a typical level 1 phenomenon according to CMMI. It is a form of project management where "heroes" characterise the projects. The baseline concept was often not known.

The were no incentives to change project management owing to earlier difficulties in devising schedules. If it proves difficult to devise schedules and follow up on them, it would naturally be difficult to adhere to them.

Owing to the substantial "rotation amongst managers who switched work tasks" at different times, it was deemed necessary to improve knowledge transfer and training for project management. It was also imperative to be able to explain the principles of how major and complex system development projects were to be governed and led.

Project methodology had evolved significantly, much the same as efforts to develop guidance, and training materials proved very effective. The fact that this training had become mandatory for project managers proved pivotal.

Sometime in the middle of the 2000s, work got under way on the current "Systems Engineering Management Plan" document in order to secure and communicate how the work was to be carried out.

Improve Project Management

An actionable measure that was established as a goal, was to obtain better working procedures in order to provide system reports on time. The working procedure for system reports was modified, relevant individuals were requested to submit review copies and were called to participate in endorsement meetings.

Here, the performance of all materiel groups and those responsible for materiel groups was measured. After a year, the statistical outcomes could be described and lead times could be specified.

Those who struggled to conform to the plans were interviewed. Here, the approach was carefully analysed in order to achieve a positive response.

  • How can an individual be approached with the statement: "You are constantly late and this needs to end"?
  • One must approach individuals along the lines of: "How can I help you to improve in this regard?" In other words, avoid triggering a defence reaction.

The sequence of events in activities is analysed with respect to system analysis and project planning, which is then assembled into a lead-time plan with a daily activity breakdown, the final 10 weeks prior to flying in a "total system edition". This approach was introduced in a planning tool called "Vegetable Sheet", in which, as a result, critical line parameters were inserted during and after an edition. This planning laid the foundation for visual planning.

Bottleneck analysis was also carried out which led to a maximum of two endorsement meetings per week (max. four hours/meeting) becoming a planning prerequisite. Holidays, weekends and school breaks were incorporated so that planning would reflect the realistic situation.

A document was produced which provided definitions and important time periods were noted. This document later evolved into a governing document for planning and was called "The Incremental Directive". The document detailed "when" and "what" was to be carried out during project work. The composition of the document is clear in its purpose and offers experience sharing.

Experience and Knowledge Bank

Over many years, "Lessons Learned" have regularly been implemented in product projects. The knowledge bank produced contains a multitude of reports from product development projects at various levels.

The knowledge bank was also made up of documents produced in CMMI measurements (project maturity measurements) and the measures taken to promote project management capabilities over the years.

During 2009, a comprehensive inventory was performed regarding the experience gained and "Lessons Learned" in earlier product development projects. This work resulted in the compilation of a project handbook.

The handbook was designed to explain how one should work practically in project management. It can be considered a "recipe book for experience". There is training material is linked to the project handbook which covers several training stages.

The knowledge bank together with the project handbook affords all project managers the opportunity to acquire knowledge and inspiration. The knowledge bank can also be readily accessed by all employees.

All businesses and all projects encounter numerous problems and face numerous challenges - with countless ways to solve them. The success of implemented measures is often contingent on a little luck and fortunate timing.

The best results often manifest when one has sufficient insight and wisdom to work with forces (people) who have an unremitting will, drive and the imperative to implement changes which provide long-term effects and lasting benefits.

All managers should complete the aforementioned course in order to have an impact on product development projects. Completing the course alone is inadequate however, project managers must take the time to seek out experienced individuals for frequent guidance. Training is always carried out under real-life conditions, which means it is essential to understand the basics and to have a good network of experienced people from which to seek advice.

Important experience gained from earlier iterations of project management in product development projects are as follows:

  1. Having the correct leadership style and core values in projects right from the start. Good leadership involves reinforcing positive behaviour and ensuring that unsatisfactory behaviour can be eliminated quickly.
  2. Ensuring that everyone in a project is firmly involved in the planning in order to establish a solid mooring and a satisfactory culture of commitment.
  3. Taking advantage of experience from earlier projects and introducing new working procedures and tools right from the start. Mentors in projects are able to provide advice and support in the critical start-up phases of product projects.

The project handbook has gradually evolved over the years. And in 2013, the project handbook was expanded in further. It was later renamed "Handbook for Project Management Work" and was modified to suit more general working procedures relevant to the whole Saab Group.

The process for project management work is illustrated in the image.

"Visual Working Procedures"

Critical measures to increase the capabilities of project management are introduced via working procedures in conjunction with meetings in the form of "visual working procedures". This entails meetings around a board wherein the current project situation is presented and problems which require the greatest amount of attention are addressed. Practical working procedures that have produced the best results in the various product projects include meeting formats such as daily controls, visual planning, etc.

Understanding how a planning hierarchy works in complex projects is imperative and was a central topic in project management courses.

A great deal of effort and energy was dedicated to being able to transfer experience between product development projects. When one analyses the way in which experience exchange worked, it can be stated, however, that it proved difficult in practice to build on earlier experience. Simple changes to document structures has made it difficult to locate older documents. There has often been a substantial turnover of project managers, which has resulted in the loss of commonplace - but perhaps the most important - experience and knowledge.

Systematic Improvement Work

The work with core values has had a significant impact on the culture of commitment at Saab. Generally speaking, it can be concluded that the results have proven very useful. However, it is up to each manager to utilise the results and implement measures. Examples: In order to further develop operations with functional development in the product development project Gripen 11, the ”Core Values Stage 2” project was carried out during 2013”.

The project resulted in 196 problems/measures/obstacles. These were curtailed to 27 issues of which 19 were reworked into 49 proposed measures. Managers were appointed to implement measures for 17 of the 49 proposed measures.

The work then continued on all 27 issues. These consisted of typical recurring problems in the business. Measures therefore need to be followed up over a longer period.

Methodological working procedures have allowed for the creation of systematic improvement work.

Customer Requirements

The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration's requirements at the start of the 2000s could be very detailed and extended far into the development process. For example, these could be detailed technical requirements as well as performance requirements for individual subsystems with regard to response times.

The work with customer requirements for products has developed successively over the years with various forms of collaboration. Collaboration with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration at the start of the 2000s took place via various "Edition Groups" which delineated an incremental development within different technology areas. Collaboration concerning the entire 39 Gripen system also existed.

The collaboration became more specific later in the 2000s for certain strategically important areas. Examples of such areas include simulation, tactical abilities and maintenance. Each area consisted of several work groups, which focused on total capabilities.

As a customer, it is imperative to truly understand what is required for different types of operative missions and to be able to articulate this in such a way that the technical solutions do not become too complex and, consequently, unnecessarily expensive.

Collaboration between customers and suppliers is therefore an important success factor. The work on concept methodology and operational analysis is central for customers and suppliers alike. It is important, early on in the work involved with defining requirements, to comprehend the various possibilities that exist in order to obtain realistic operational capabilities at a reasonable cost. As a supplier, it is imperative to cooperate closely with the customer to understand the customer's needs and present several different solution alternatives.

Understanding Practical Operational Needs of Users

To ensure that the ability exists to understand which properties and capabilities are required by users within the armed forces, pilots from the Swedish Armed Forces were enlisted.

In collaboration with various engineers, these pilots can bridge the understanding between the practical operational need for capacity, capability and performance and robust technical solutions to obtain a low life-cycle cost. A very good way to develop new capabilities for armed forces is to jointly develop different types of demonstrators to understand and test requirements in order to obtain practical and economically realistic solutions.

Over the years, great efforts have been made to work with conceptual methodology and operational analysis. It is of utmost importance to have a productive working procedure to jointly understand the operational conditions and the strategies and tactics that armed forces seek to implement practically.

This dictates clarity when assessing which risks - technical and financial - can be accepted from customers and suppliers. This particularly applies to assessments of technological maturity for new technological solutions from which the product can benefit.

System developers must understand the practical conditions for all types of use situations. Here it is important to recognise which resources are required and which conditions exist, depending on where the assignments are planned to be carried out.

Over the last 10 years, investments have been made to develop prototypes and technology demonstrators able to show the subsequent stages of development work, the work involved with preparatory planning is therefore vital. Consideration must be taken regarding the maturity level - according to the TRL scale - of different technological systems or solutions in order to determine when they are suitable for mass production.

Ensuring Practical Requirement Implementation in Deliveries or Results

Comprehensive work is being performed to ensure that the conditions and requirements from clients or independent actors are correctly understood and possible to implement practically in deliveries and results. The assessment of risk levels during the tender process is based on, among other things, experience from earlier development work and various technical and technology studies.

Preparatory planning plays a part in assessing both the financial and technological risks. An important facet of this work is understanding design parameters and using various key performance indicators in the design stage. Concept work is a central aspect of this.

There is a great emphasis on concept reviews once development work has begun. Preliminary design reviews indicate whether requirements have been understood, and final design reviews indicate whether the system solutions are correspondent to the requirements.

The Swedish model employed in the development of the Gripen system involved development in several smaller stages. This provides greater flexibility in following technological development and developing new operational capabilities, after which customers envision new requirements and goals in the development of defence capabilities.

The image below illustrates the incongruity between two different schools of thought for the development of military fighter aircraft. "Mid Life Update" is depicted on the left side of the image, and means the customer is required to wait a long time before receiving new and essentially better functionality, while the right side of the image depicts the Swedish edition model with successive development, which allows the customer to continually develop operational capabilities.

The image illustrates the difference between LEGACY MLU and GRIPEN EDITIONS.

Fundamental to Saab's working procedure is building credibility in terms of continuously being able to develop the Gripen system and ensuring that it remains at the cutting-edge.

New Working Procedures for Contract Work

In conjunction with Gripen export initiatives, important developments were made with regard to contract work.

Just prior to the decision being made to develop an export version of Gripen, a project was started aimed at further developing a Swedish version. Another project was started owing to the decision to implement an export initiative. It became clear that, if nothing was done, after a while the costs and timetables for carrying out these projects would escalate considerably.

The parties involved in the respective projects were Saab and FMV for the further development of Gripen for Swedish purposes, and Saab and BAE Systems for the development of Gripen for export.

A small contact organisation was therefore established consisting of 3-5 members. The number of members varied depending on the circumstances surrounding negotiations and development work. The roles that constituted the contract organisation was one manager, one assistant manager, one controller and a few specialists.

A very effectual initiative was implemented within Saab which resulted in major changes to management and governance in development programmes. Cooperation with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration was strengthened. A comprehensive approach was instated concerning business and product development. System development projects were governed in such a way so as to avoid duplicate work.

The figure depicts the principle working procedure referred to as "Business Development V"

Fundamental questions were asked. Are we working correctly? Are we working with the right things?

Duplicate costs and capacity requirements had to be managed. What was to be included in basic orders and what were the options? Other business-related questions that needed to be resolved had to do with cost-sharing between the Swedish version and export version of Gripen.

Possessing the correct distribution factors was imperative for business. Requirements for the distribution of profitability between Saab and BAE needed to be determined. System development, production and flight testing needed to be taken into account.

Project management teams were governed in a unified manner. Collaboration with the line organisation was also drastically changed in order to control the need for resources. Both projects were coordinated to enable intelligent streamlining and rationalisation.

An overarching structure and strong governance was introduced which focused on defining the correct solutions for the following:

  1. Concept
    • Customer requirements and operational capabilities
    • Development costs, product properties and life-cycle costs for each product
  2. Development
    • Ambition level
    • Milestones
    • Lead times and schedules
  3. Production
    • Hourly costs for each aircraft
    • Lead time until delivery
    • Value stream
  4. Flight testing
    • Cooperation with the FMV (the customer), and the Swedish Armed Forces (the user).
    • Verification and validation strategies for new weapon systems

It can also be stated that an essential success factor when selecting business partners was the various incentives in the contract and which secured the outcome. Examples of such areas included functionality, quality, costs, etc.

 

The Effects of Changes in Contract Work

Upon completion of a project, it was possible to confirm success both with regard to deliveries and technical content but, above all, with regard to governing projects in such a way that their original goals were achieved. This applied to profitability and return and, furthermore, deliveries were made on schedule. The working procedure then served as the foundation for future and ongoing development projects.

Decisive factors in the successful streamlining of work and achievement of goals were as follows:

  1. A willingness existed to introduce radically new working procedures and forms of governance. There was confidence in abilities.
  2. There was acceptance in the organisation. Those who governed were well-known, senior, established and engendered trust.
  3. Working in networks afforded good communication in the line organisation.
  4. The requisite decisiveness and authority existed.

Organising a number of qualified project managers and contact managers in the same project office is highly advantageous. Tender engineers appointed by the line organisation are also connected to this project office. These individuals calculate estimates, follow-up on these and then perform subsequent calculations. Tender engineers work beneficially with gradual business process improvement.

Export Country Customer Requirements

In conjunction with the export initiative that began with Gripen at the end of the 1990s, an entirely new business focus arose that differed from those before. There was now an expectation to understand the requirements of other countries and to adapt to completely different contract milestones than those one had become accustomed to as regarded the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration.

It demanded a close relationship in customer interfaces in order to understand and interpret the requirements established by international customers. This resulted in a complete shift in focus with respect to contract terms and conditions - and the interpretation of these - in order to fulfil deliveries in line with customer expectations.

The South African customer established requirements on a comprehensive level. One example could be formulated thus: ”Weapon systems are required to function in warfare”.

The South African customer also established operational requirements. An example of a well-formulated requirement from the South African customer concerned system requirements, example ”Interoperability between different systems shall be without interruptions”. It is up to the supplier to resolve this. These types of requirements provide opportunities to develop technical solutions that do not confine the technical solution.

The South African customer actively participated in close cooperation with Saab. The South African customer's representatives also worked closely with the various development teams and learnt to know the development engineers. This allowed them to achieve the outcomes they desired. This working procedure also provided the various development teams with direct feedback concerning different technical solutions. Cooperation with the South African customer provided Saab with a good understanding and very practical experience of requirements management.

The most important experience gained from the first South African export deal showed the following:

  1. In contract documents from 2005, a cost was detailed for a complete maintenance concept calculated per flight hour. During evaluation in 2014 it was shown that these costs had been achieved! When examining the reasons, it was clear that this was due to calculations being performed meticulously right from the start.
  2. In order to determine how all requirements were to be verified, contract specifications were reworked into product specifications. Upon conclusion of the contract, all customer requirements had been fulfilled!
  3. An internationally recognised South African company was entrusted as a partner in order to carry out certain aspects of the flight testing locally. The partnership worked superbly and had a positive effect on the customer's reception of the aircraft.
  4. Considerable confidence existed at management level regarding how information in projects was to be utilised. Pivotal to success was the fact that regular meetings were held in person.
  5. The customer stationed a number of people at Saab who were able to convey the customer's viewpoints quickly and concretely.
  6. Leadership in the project was confined to a small circle who worked together throughout the project, thereby creating good continuity in all issues, large and small.
  7. There was active control of forecasting and central planning throughout project period.
  8. And active efforts in the handling of the cultural differences that existed during the project period.

The author´s reflections