Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman Case: Part 1
(Narrated by Ken Cooper) 8:27 minutes
Northrop Grumman Case Part 2 – The Back Story
(Narrated by Ken Cooper) 2:31 minutes


Name Northrop Grumman and the $2000 Hour
Modelers Kenneth Cooper
Client/Participant Northrop Grumman
Client Type Corporation
The Official Website For added information, or with any questions, see, or contact Ken via email: [email protected]


The Issue You Tackled After experiencing some large program cost and schedule problems, Northrop Grumman hired us to help proactively on a new, yet to be started program–the development of the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet fighter aircraft. Extensive model usage contributed to an award-winning performance on this development program, and led to new corporate policy beyond that program as well.
What You Actually Did

We developed a model of the project dynamics for the design and prototype production of the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet. Starting our modeling work even before the development program started, we spent extensive time with senior corporate leaders and the entire top management team on the program. In addition to the pure modeling work, we undertook an an extensive series of sessions discussing the Rework Cycle and productivity dynamics. The Program Manager credited the SD modeling work with instilling an important understanding of the unintended impacts of different actions and of design changes (secondary impacts). “Undiscovered rework” and “the rework cycle” became common elements of the lexicon of the program, changing the culture and thinking among the management.

Following that assignment, Corporate requested an analysis to support new company policies regarding the use of overtime. This is discussed in the accompanying video, and in the paper “The $2000 Hour”.

The Results

Today the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet remains the premier carrier-basedaircraft for the US Navy, flying over 1100 mph in multiple combat roles. It is widely regarded as an extremely successful procurement in DoD, with over 500 aircraft produced in the past 20 years, with a value near $50 billion.


Related Publications
The $2,000 Hour:How Managers Influence Project Performance Through the Rework Cycle Download


Did You Know?

Commercial Applications of System Dynamics as Oral Histories page

In the winter of 2016, Ken Cooper visited the System Dynamics Society home office. During that meeting, a series of videos were recorded in which David Andersen interviewed Ken Cooper. In these videos, Ken narrates several of the high impact and more interesting commercial applications from his distinguished career. This series of nine short videos can now be found on the Commercial Applications of System Dynamics as Oral Histories page.