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Topics: Innovation, Organizational Project Management, Strategy
Project Management of Research and Development (R&D) projects?

Is anyone using the "spiral" methodology for Research and Development projects? What methodologies are being used for R&D? Any words of wisdom from your experience?
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I've never used Boehm's Spiral method, as defined, but I've worked with R&D projects (non-software) and there are similar patterns. Early stages involved various proofs of concept to eliminate research with low chance of success. The goal was to "fail early" and preserve resources for projects with the highest probability of success. Instead of a spiral, we had a linear path with critical stage gates at which each project would either fail or pass. Each successful stage gate opened the project to more funding, until we moved to the final push to full production.

Projects had to compete for resources, so our portfolio was shaped like a funnel: large at the early stages with maximum number of new ideas, and smaller as successful projects got closer to completion.

I fully support @Wade comments above. We use the same approach that he stated into his comment. At the end, it is a "cuasi-spiral" model.

I agree with the above as well. I'll add that methodologies can differ depending on the nature of the R&D. In some cases, a new and novel solution is sought for an existing problem. In other cases, the development might be creating new and novel technologies, and the objective is to determine whether or not they have a use. Those projects tend to be managed differently.

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