Alan MacCormack

MS/MBA: Engineering Sciences Program Core Faculty

"Dramatic shifts are underway across the business landscape. Digital technologies are creating new industries and business models, while rapidly invading even the most traditional of businesses. Navigating in this new world requires leaders with a deep knowledge of technology, world-class business smarts and entrepreneurial vision."

Alan MacCormack is the MBA Class of 1949 Adjunct Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, a member of the HBS Digital Initiative, and a core faculty member in the MS/MBA:Engineering Sciences joint degree program.  He is an expert in the management of innovation and new product development, with a focus on the design and deployment of digital technologies.  He is best known for his pioneering work on software development, where his research reveals the benefits of agile processes and the value of modular designs.

Professor MacCormack’s work has been published in a variety of leading journals, including Management Science, Research Policy, Production and Operations Management (POM), IEEE Software, Harvard Business Review and Sloan Management Review.  His publications have been recognized on multiple occasions for their contributions to innovation management scholarship.  He received the 2016 Wickham Skinner Award for the best paper published in POM; the 2013 Maurice Holland Award for the best paper published in Research-Technology Management; and was a finalist for the best paper in Technology and Innovation Management at the 2010 Academy of Management Conference.

Professor MacCormack teaches extensively in both the MBA program and Executive Education.  He helped to design and subsequently chaired RC FIELD, a new style of MBA course that develops students’ teamwork abilities through experiential learning.  He created Entrepreneurship Lab, an MBA elective in which student teams work on customer discovery projects for local startups.  His innovations in teaching and course development have been recognized several times.  He received the Greenhill Award for Outstanding Service to the HBS Community in 2013; the Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching in 2011; and the Outstanding Teacher Award from MIT’s Sloan School of Management in 2009.

Professor MacCormack has authored over 50 Cases and Teaching Notes that explore how organizations like Intel, Microsoft and NASA effectively manage innovation.  These cases are used extensively by educators around the globe. He has advised and consulted with a variety of technology-based companies and has provided expert testimony on behalf of firms like Amazon, with respect to their software design and development practices.  In 2013, he co-founded Silverthread, a startup that provides commercial tools to help organizations assess and improve the quality of their software systems and services.

Professor MacCormack received his Doctor of Business Administration from HBS, where he was a recipient of the George S. Dively award for outstanding dissertation research.  He holds an SM degree from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and a BSc from the University of Bath in England.  While studying at MIT, he was a recipient of the prestigious Kennedy Scholarship.  He joined the Technology and Operations Management unit at HBS in 1998.  From 2008 to 2011, he was a Visiting Professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

For more information, visit Alan’s full bio here.