Facilitating the Creative Team
Creative teams will be facilitated through
• establishing the project using the methods found in Chapters 1
• choosing the right project manager;
• identifying and building the best team;
• setting up the project structure to facilitate learning; and
• holding the project manager and team accountable for outcomes.
Chapters 1 through 6 described methods for implementing R&D
and innovative projects within a project management framework.
The application of that framework increases the probability that
these projects will achieve favorable outcomes. This chapter shifts
the focus from the application of processes to enhancing how
humans interact within these processes. The individuals who fill
roles on R&D projects as principal investigators, project managers,
and project team members often bring unique skills and talents;
they often make up small teams; and they typically operate with a
high level of autonomy. Often, the future of the organization rests
in the ability of these individuals to achieve successful outcomes.
Therefore, it is important that those chosen to participate on these
teams are carefully selected and provided an environment that
supports the mission and rewards them in the right ways. When
project teams have been chosen and facilitated suitably, the perfor-
mance will speak for itself.
e project manager’s role in R&D projects is more important than
for other projects within dierent stages of the life cycle. ey are
oen the driving force for success, and having a strong team with the
372 • Project Management for Research and Development
right skills is oen critical for achieving project success. An example
demonstrating the importance of having the right team in place can
be found in the NASA Apollo 13 mission to the moon in 1970.
an oxygen tank exploded, the mission to land on the moon became
a mission of survival for the astronauts. Although a spaceight is
designed to be a highly structured activity, when something goes
wrong, as this example demonstrates, the importance of having a
strong person leading, and a highly competent, adaptable team in
place to do what is necessary, is paramount in reaching a successful
NASA uses a rigorous mission control construct
monitor each subsystem from the moment of lio through touch-
down. Its design is relatively synonymous with an R&D project man-
ager and his or her product team leaders in that it incorporates teams
of highly skilled subject matter experts, responsible for each subsys-
tem, and a ight director acting as the single voice of authority during
the actual ight. Trained to operate in structured, orderly sequences,
in this case, this team was suddenly required to formulate and imple-
ment innovative solutions in record time to save the lives of the crew-
men and bring them back safely to Earth.
Once the crisis was acknowledged, and the challenges that were
being faced understood, there was extreme pressure to come up with
solutions to problems that were inconceivable just moments before,
within unprecedented time frames, and with outcomes that would
mean the dierence between life and death for the astronauts. New
procedures had to be creatively designed, tested, and validated.
Interdisciplinary teams solved issues related to electrical power
consumption, shut down, and power up. ey also addressed issues
with consumables, such as oxygen and water. e dropping inter-
nal temperature of the spacecra, increasing water condensation
and carbon dioxide buildup were high-risk situations that had not
been anticipated, but were now real-life threats. rough the creative
genius of the teams involved, as well as the vision and rm convic-
tion of the ight director, the Apollo 13 mission met its new mission
of researching and developing new processes, procedures, and tools
with only the materials on the spaceship, and returning the crew
safely to Earth. is example, although extreme, shows what can be
done with the right manager and the right team.