Hewlett-Packard: the Flight of the Kittyhawk

3816 WordsFeb 14, 201116 Pages
Hewlett-Packard: The Flight of the Kittyhawk (A) The first hard drive, a magnetic information storage and retrieval device for computers and other electronic products, was developed by IBM engineers in 1956 in San Jose, California. This hard drive was the size of two side by side refrigerators and could store 5 MB of information. Incredible technological progress ensued, and by the early 1990’s, disk drives had decreased from their original bulky configuration to 2.5 square inches in diameter and had a four-fold increase in their data capacity to 20MB. The disk drive business had grown into a multi-billion dollar industry marked by frequent innovation, rapid growth and intense competition amongst a few select firms such…show more content…
First and foremost, the Kittyhawk project had the full support of its senior management. Bruce Spenner, the DMD executive initially driven to expand DMD’s market share, first sold the idea to Dick Hackborn, executive vice president of the entire Computer Products Organization. Hackborn agreed with the opportunity and chose one of the options Spenner presented. The case states that Hackborn had enough clout within HP for his approval to make “everyone…fall into line”. Even Lew Platt, HP’s CEO, frequently visited to check on progress which signaled to the Kittyhawk team, and the rest of HP, the special nature of this project. Next, HP set up an autonomous group to specifically focus on the Kittyhawk project. The project team was set up physically and financially separate from the rest of the company. This was done because most of the R&D managers balked at supporting the project, despite the endorsements from upper management. The group was given complete freedom to develop the drive, find the markets the drive would serve, and cultivate the customer base so the project would not be governed by HP’s traditional developmental processes which would likely slow the process. Autonomy allowed focus on the project at hand, dedicated resources, entrepreneurial flexibility of a smaller entity and a barrier from the distractions of working in a large corporate environment. The group had a

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