In The Soul of a New Machine, why did West feel the need to use the management style he did? Provide an alternative management-style suggestion, and defend your suggestion using details from the book.

Tom West used high-pressure, secretive management techniques because he was strongly focused on completing the Eagle project quickly. A more inclusive management style, using positive incentives, would have allowed him to treat lack of time as another engineering problem to which his team could attempt to find innovative, technology-driven solutions.

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Tracy Kidder observes that engineers are aesthetes: they want to create a solution of perfect technical elegance to the design problem they are given. This inevitably leads to conflict with managers, who are more focused on time and cost than on perfection. In managing the Eagle project, Tom West took the usual managerial approach to extremes. He already had a reputation for bringing products to market quickly, but in this case it appeared that all he cared about was speed. He encouraged his team to do whatever it took to bring out the new computer quickly, even though this involved various types of compromise, particularly in terms of product quality and innovation.

West employed his high-pressure, secretive management style because he had the overriding objective of finishing the project quickly. It would be pointless to suggest a different management style that would not accomplish this objective, since, if you change the aim sufficiently, any management style will do. However, West could have been more inclusive in his management style. Kidder says that West was a devotee of the "Mushroom" theory of management, keeping employees in the dark and feeding them garbage. His motivational techniques are based on fear and uncertainty. A more productive way of working might be to share the time constraints with the engineers and use positive motivation to encourage them to come up with optimal solutions to the time constraints under which they are operating. In this way, time becomes another engineering problem, susceptible to technical as well as organizational solutions.

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