Resource Management

Description Resource Management+ refers to the practice of scheduling out the time of team members towards specific research tasks. When we only have one or a few technical experts in a specific discipline, their time is allocated across the many projects for which their expertise is needed. This practice has the advantage of putting some order into the daily schedule of the experts, shielding them from buffeting demands of competing project leaders. It also provides them with broad experience across a number of projects.
Weaknesses

This practice is imported from manufacturing or other transaction-based activities. It is typically imported into R&D out of frustration: to move projects along. The thinking is that researchers need structure in their daily work scheduling or they'll lose the commercial focus. That next interesting discovery will distract their attention from the main task at hand.

This practice is incompatible with the World Class R&D intention to foster creativity and passion in the R&D work environment. We don't know beforehand when inspiration will hit. Also, the path and the destination for much work in innovative R&D is tenuous or directional. It's not possible to schedule out a professional's time without shutting down the many possibilities we need to consider in innovative research.

More damaging, this practice deadens the work routine. Researchers become in effect hourly workers. They learn how to get the tasks done within the allotted time. They learn how to give their work a patina of quality and novelty. They also develop outside interests, which is why many research facility parking lots empty out at closing time.

Appropriate Uses None. There might be a temptation to use this practice in me-too+ product development, but the contention of World Class R&D is that all work is directed towards that next blockbuster+ product, either directly or in a supportive role. This means we intend to use the same staff for both innovative and keep-the-lights-on work. That creative moment can strike anytime.

 

Further Reading