Centre for Technology Management
Managing development projects is a core activity of technology and R&D managers. Development projects may look for different purposes; for example to develop a new product or to improve operational performance. However, managing development projects is inherently a difficult task and it is more challenging when a new technology and more than one company is involved. Projects involving new technologies feature uncertainties associated with completion cost, time and performance. In addition, projects involve combinations of various skills and technologies that may exist inside and outside the firm.
Projects that require integration of external technology tend to demand a closer relationship with the provider. This interaction is particularly close where the technology is novel, complex or unique. However, acquiring technology from a third party adds more complexity to development projects. For instance, when a technology at early stage of development is acquired it is difficult to specify contractually what must be delivered. Also, other issues such as management of emerging intellectual property, and keeping the schedule running on time are issues that increase the complexity of such projects. Therefore, an understanding of the attributes of effective incorporation of external technologies to firm’s operations is central to effective project management.
An analysis of case studies across different industries such as chemical products, biofuels production and oil & gas has provided insights into the factors that influence the effective integration of external technologies in co-development projects. These factors can be divided in six categories:
- Strategic alignment
- Structural match
- Joint development management
- Implementation opportunity
- Technology uncertainty
- Contextual factors
A detailed description of the factors and activities involved in co-development projects is available on request. For further information or comments please contact the researcher.