4 Key Challenges in Product Development Projects…and How a PM Can Overcome Them

Vijay is a certified PMP and CSM with approximately 10 years of project management experience in data management, application development and product development.

Projects are prone to challenges in every domain, no matter how well you plan. But research and development (R&D) projects are always hanging by a thin thread as this department is mainly a cost center. Although companies invest heavily in their R&D facilities, a commercially profitable product is not always guaranteed.

For this reason, R&D has more pressure to deliver than any other business function; the roads are never easy for any project running in R&D. Using the consumer durable product industry as a base, this article will elaborate on four key challenges that R&D projects face—along with countermeasures that an R&D project manager can take.

Challenge 1: “I am the boss!”
Product development companies depute product managers who assess the voice of customers and compile them into a requirements document. These documented specifications are then discussed in a war room amongst the business leaders from different functions such as R&D, service, plant, sales and marketing.

After multiple rounds of deliberation and feasibility analysis, the requirements (some included, some not) are agreed upon. However, once the product starts taking shape in the prototyping stage, key stakeholders will come up with feedback. This is a challenge in the product industry, because the stakeholders initially approve requirements on paper&…

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