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Skunkworks

Definition - What does Skunkworks mean?

Skunkworks refers to advanced development projects that are sometimes top-secret (such as black projects) in technology, business and aerospace engineering.

Skunkworks teams develop tasks efficiently with nominal management limitations. With direct focus on revolutionized business and technology changes, skunkworks is independent, highly secretive, innovative and well-funded.

Techopedia explains Skunkworks

A skunkworks team often begins a project for future conventional development. Teams have few members for communication overhead reduction.

Skunkworks team objectives include:

  • Produce fast results and commercially sustainable and top-quality projects
  • Empower teams and project managers beyond standard expectations
  • Create the finest multi-disciplinary teams
  • Efficiently produce or advance prototypes with marginal external assistance or knowledge

Lockheed Martin Corporation refers to its skunkwork projects as "Skunk Works" and, formally, as Advanced Development Programs (ADP). Because the general skunkworks term originated from Alfred Gerald Caplin’s (Al Capp) Li'l Abner comic strip, Lockheed's ADP group and logo are trademarked as Skunk Works.

Lockheed's original use of the skunkworks term remains a mystery, but there is a consensus that the term was first introduced during World War II by Lockheed engineers charged with the construction of a U.S. government fighter jet.

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