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Two very interesting articles on the problems at Boeing. One, from The Atlantic in November, suggests that the plane manufacturer’s problems began long ago. It argues that the McDonnel Douglas reverse takeover (McDonnell Douglas bought Boeing with Boeing’s money, went the joke) saw Boeing’s culture change from an engineering company to a finance-focused one. Added to the decision to move its headquarters some 1,500 miles away from its aircraft manufacturing and engineers, and the company became even more divorced from its roots. As one source explained, Boeing lost “the ability to comfortably interact with an engineer who in turn feels comfortable telling you their reservations, versus calling a manager [more than] 1,500 miles away who you know has a reputation for wanting to take your pension away. It’s a very different dynamic. As a recipe for disempowering engineers in particular, you couldn’t come up with a better format.”
The other article, from the New York Times last month, points to the culture failure, as evidenced by 117 pages of internal documents that were published. They reveal a lack of trust across the workforce, as well as the company’s insistence that the FAA did not mandate simulator training for MAX pilots – despite significant reservations from engineers. Both worth a read.