Project management is a serious undertaking, no matter your processes or goals. However, if you’re in charge of a research and development project, you have to balance all the usual responsibilities with the uncertainty of innovation. The entire project revolves around uncharted territory. As such, it’s important to keep your laboratory and team flexible, motivated, and on track to achieve their goals. To help you reach success in your endeavors, here are three necessary components in managing an R&D project.
R&D projects lack the rigid timelines and defined goals of most long-term ventures. You will likely face unexpected developments and uncover information you hadn’t originally considered. Because of these complications, it’s important to maintain a sense of flexibility in your project. You should handle and adjust to moving goalposts, adjustments in funding, and new research that makes major changes to your project. When you successfully work with these uncertainties, you keep your team productive and moving toward your goals.
The ever-changing circumstances of an R&D project make it easy to lose sight of your end goals. This means that one of the most important components in managing an R&D project is a sense of focus. Keep your objectives in mind and make sure your team’s efforts and interest continue to move toward those goals. Make sure both your immediate targets and your overall objectives serve the purpose you had when you began this project.
Complete and accessible notes are an important part of any scientific undertaking. In research and development projects, notes play a particularly vital role in documenting how your ideas, goals, and achievements have evolved over time. Your team’s laboratory notebooks will help you record information that validates every step of the project. Having this information on hand is also essential in sharing your progress with stakeholders and other individuals invested in your project.