In project management, challenges tend to grow as projects — especially those centered on research and development — extend over time. It becomes harder to manage deadlines and allocate resources over lengthy horizons. The most popular method for managing projects flexibly, known as agile, struggles when applied to extended ventures. This is mainly because long-running innovative endeavors, such as skunkworks, often lack regular feedback from end-users, which is essential for the agile approach.
3 Ways to Successfully Manage Large-Scale R&D Projects
Managing extended R&D projects comes with its unique challenges, with even the popular agile method struggling in such contexts. Drawing from a recent significant build at Lattice, an HR software startup, three key factors emerge as essential for success in managing large projects. First, securing executive commitment ensures risk acceptance and a flexible budgeting approach. Second, setting expectations, especially in R&D, calls for transparent communication regarding delivery timelines, and fostering a culture centered on learning and adaptability. Lastly, true leadership and project success hinge on owning the outcome, promoting bold decision-making and ensuring teams focus on tasks without fear of blame. By integrating these principles, organizations can navigate even the most complex projects with confidence and resilience.