Chapter 21. Managing Research and Development

Research and development (R&D), a topic of utmost importance because of its complexity, encompasses three interrelated elements:

  1. Project management

  2. Resource management

  3. Technology management (identifying opportunities, marketing the product, managing technological innovation, and more)

This chapter focuses mainly on managing the R&D department that has components of these three elements.

Complexity of R&D Management

Research and development management is characterized by:

  • A multiplicity of projects competing for the same resources

  • High levels of marketing and technological uncertainty

  • Complexity in managing employees with a high level of specific expertise

  • A multiplicity of specializations in various technological areas

  • Inherent conflicts between the two permanent bottlenecks:

    • —Marketing and sales personnel

    • —R&D personnel

  • Pressure from customers and management to reduce response times and costs

  • Continual reduction of the product or technological service life cycle

Improving R&D enhances the firm's value. To achieve this enhancement, there is a need to deal with the main problems faced by R&D management.

Experience with R&D departments demonstrates several typical important problems:

  • Business thinking and subordination to the market and its needs

  • Effect of project type on management requirements

  • Conflict between generic development and specific development

  • Overspecification and overdesign

  • Viewing development as a process

  • Working without a Complete Kit or ...

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