Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2004 (Revised March 2006)

Pratt & Whitney: Engineering Standard Work

by H. Kent Bowen and Courtney Purrington


As the engineering of state-of-the-art jet engines becomes more and more complex, Pratt & Whitney leaders face major competitive problems. Product development projects are not meeting the cost, quality, and lead-time targets. The leadership develops a design, development, test, and launch system that treats the engineering resources as a factory and carefully designs and manages the work flows, engineering activities, and hand-offs between tasks. There is promising initial success but some question whether the "engineering standard work" system stifles creativity and whether it is appropriate for the work of other professional functions.

Keywords: Design; Engineering; Cost; Knowledge Management; Time Management; Product Launch; Standards; Product Development; Problems and Challenges; Quality; Creativity; Competitive Strategy; Manufacturing Industry;


Bowen, H. Kent, and Courtney Purrington. "Pratt & Whitney: Engineering Standard Work." Harvard Business School Case 604-084, February 2004. (Revised March 2006.)