Research and Development (R&D) is one area where organizations deal predominantly with projects. Most of the work happening in an R&D environment is project work, and within the R&D organizations have various project methodology, life cycle, and management requirements that make them unique. But even with a wide range of needs and methodologies, there is commonality in diversity.
All examples in this chapter are for the guidance of deploying organizations. Organizations should assess the applicability of these examples, including the values described, and should not rely exclusively on the values presented here.
The most common resource outline codes for the R&D sector are Project Location, Project Status, Project Life cycle, Resource RBS, Resource Skill Set, and Resource Role. Note that the values for these codes are for orientation purposes and may not be suitable for every organization.
Organizations that operate in an R&D environment often find that their portfolio of projects can be easily grouped by the location where they are undertaken. Understanding the geographical distribution of the projects, for example, can help organizations leverage local resources or balance their portfolio from a financial perspective by relocating projects from locations with high operating costs to locations with lower costs. Each organization maintains its own list of locations, and respective values form the structure of the Project Location outline code.
Extremely important for an organization operating in the R&D sector is to have a clear understanding of its portfolio of projects from the perspective of their status. This helps the organization balance its pipeline of projects and make sure that resources (material, financial, and human) are properly allocated to projects. An example of grouping projects by the status is presented here:
Project Life Cycle
In many R&D organizations after the management of an organization has approved development of a new product, triggered by internal portfolio management or external market research, time to market becomes a critical success factor. A broad and flexible project management tool is needed to optimize the use of resources and the network of activities, including the interdependencies between them. The Project Life cycle outline code illustrates the transition of a project from one phase into another:
Resource RBS is used for mapping the organizational structure of the deploying organization. The Enterprise Outline Code 30 for resources is reserved by Microsoft Project to designate the RBS.
When designing the RBS make sure that it is accurate at all times. We also suggest developing a maintenance plan of this code, such as every time there is a change in the organizational structure of the company, that change is reflected immediately in the structure of this code. Any changes to this code should be coordinated with the executive management of the company and with the Human Resource department. Also, make sure that changes to the RBS are not made before organizational changes are communicated to the entire company.
Because each RBS structure is specific to the organization, we cannot recommend a specific structure. It is, however, highly recommended that you use this code.
Resource Skill Set
An important task for the project manager is the selection of appropriate resource skill sets and the planning of resources to avoid overload. This is of particular interest to R&D projects because in most of the cases it involves prototyping and testing activities that require specific skills. R&D projects are often characterized by overlapping phases and heavy use of cross-functional resources. As such, it becomes useful for project and resource managers to assess the pool of skill sets available in the organization, such as the following:
Development of a project schedule often requires in the beginning the use of generic resources rather than specific resource names. To help project and resource managers identify the appropriate resource that will be assigned to project tasks, the organization may choose to group available resources by their role. The following is an example of roles common in almost all projects: