Industrial R&D

 

Research and Development.

‘Research and Development’ covers a huge spectrum of activities ranging from blue-skies research through to the development of a new widget. But they are all characterised by some common features – an over-arching aim, finite resources (usually staff and budget), a degree of uncertainty and some form of time constraint.

There are also the people: those involved in R&D are frequently very bright and not always the best of team players.

We have been involved in barrier-nursing for cows when investigating bovine tuberculosis, a new mobile telephone architecture (not just how it should be designed), non-invasive (Ka-Band) RF technology for airport security scanning, ink-jet printing for ceramic kitchen tiles, ion-implantation for Formula-1 gearboxes, drug discovery (cancer), bank-note design . . . plus many more.

The universal requirement is to assemble resources, formulate a plan, do some work, monitor progress and take corrective action as-and-when appropriate. But also to motivate the team during those ‘down’ moments.

Some years ago we planned and managed the creation of a mapping system for one of the Gulf nations. The requirement was not unique but somewhat unusual as the maps were to ‘drive’ a 6-axis aircraft simulator being used to train pilots to fly (what are euphemistically called) ‘fast jets’ at low level across a desert landscape. Superficially, this was a design-and-build project but the high level of innovation, not to mention the management challenges, meant that standard project management techniques could not be used.

CSM is well used to working in that ill-defined (or fuzzy) region between Research and Development. It is for this reason that we are able to train R&D staff in those techniques applicable to industrial projects on the boundary between academic research and the logistic-type projects about which the majority of project management literature is written.

We find that the greatest benefit comes from working in project-focussed teams. We no longer offer ‘open’ courses.

If you think your team might benefit, please contact CSM for further details of our training.