Disrupting Acquisition Blog


by | May 7, 2020 | Mindset

busy calendarThere’s a saying in the aircraft design world that every feature must “buy its way onto the airplane.” That’s because every piece of hardware or software that’s added to an airplane consumes a precious resource by taking up space, adding weight, and/or using additional power and processing. Since Size, Weight And Power (SWAP) are limited resources on an airplane, the benefit of additional capabilities must clearly outweigh the SWAP costs.

Similarly, our personal and collective Time And Mental Energy (TAME) are also precious resources. Every activity we undertake during the work day takes a chunk out of our TAME bucket of capability. It could be doing heads-down deep work in order to pull together that killer set of technically-supported recommendations for a senior, taking a class for personal development, investing time to mentor someone, reaching out to collaborate, or attending a meeting.

Of course it’s easy to poke fun at Dilbert-style work meetings. We’ve all been in those meetings that drag on aimlessly and end inconclusively, while we daydream of what else we could be doing that would be much more productive. Although it’s usually someone else’s meetings that are a waste of time, never the ones that we personally host; those are no doubt paragons of brevity and decisive action!

All kidding aside, the COVID-19 crisis has provided us with a rare opportunity to do a reset of our overall battle rhythm and meeting design. As we look to the future when shelter-in-place restrictions start to lift, this is a great time to decide how to spend our collective TAME, and to pick what activities “buy their way onto the schedule.”  It’s a chance to carefully evaluate which meetings and processes should be reconstituted and which ones we may decide to live without. This includes also looking at how they are conducted and who should or should not participate.

Our TAME is limited. Let’s take the chance provided by the COVID-19 national emergency to figure out how we want to best spend it in the future — and decide what “buys its way onto the airplane” as we move into the new normal.


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Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed here are those of the authors only and do not represent the positions of the MITRE Corporation or its sponsors.


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