Monday, June 11, 2012

Jargon Watch: "Heilmeier's Questions"

I noticed an ad from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency, IARPA on the blog, which I thought was curious. It's a high-level US government research outfit, who are looking for people to predict economic and political events. It's interesting.

Here's a term I hadn't heard before, which must be a fixture in government and defense research: "Heilmeier's questions", for anyone launching a project or developing a product:

(via wikipedia)


  • What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon.
  • How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice?
  • What's new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?
  • Who cares?If you're successful, what difference will it make?
  • What are the risks and the payoffs?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How long will it take?
  • What are the midterm and final "exams" to check for success?

It's an interesting alternative to the startup/ entrepreneur/ busines discussion of new projects.


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