LOCM Survey gathers momentum

LOCM Survey

As part of our efforts to understand what matters most to engineering project managers, and what they most struggle with when it comes to managing their products, we have been conducting a survey to develop an in-depth understanding of the major performance-influencing aspects of projects within various company contexts, and how well these are monitored and understood by the project management tools currently in use.

We’ve had over 50 people from a range of industrial partners take the survey so far, and the results are adding further to our knowledge of where project managers really struggle to understand their projects, and more importantly, when they are going off-track.  We will be publishing some initial results soon, but in the meantime, if you’d like to find out more, please contact us by leaving a comment.

One thought on “LOCM Survey gathers momentum”

  1. The greatest challenge for managing a research project is that of balancing the budget and the potential research benefit of “going a little bit further”. There is a constant view of the direction of the research and the possibilities that may be derived from it. However, all of this has a financial implication, simply the more you do the more it costs. The balance comes from understanding if those “few extra steps” will increase the financial value of the work, or diminish it when spread over the cost of the whole project. Conversely there is the threat of cutting a project short due to budget constraints before the “eureka” moment – even if it is not immediately apparent.

    The other challenge of managing a research programme is the ability to “understand” or predict the cost / time of research into new, or developing technology. Inherently within the research field there is a significant degree of unknown (if it’s known it’s not research!) and to put a “price” on the development of this unknown is simply applying a guess on an unknown – an exponential increase in the level of failure / error.

    Given these two elements, elements which are closely related, managing research cannot be considered as a “by the book” process. It requires a reasonable understanding of the current state of technology to get a rough outline of the potential cost of the research and to understand the technology as it progresses to weigh up the cost/benefit for progressing the work. Therefore a level of technical understanding of the research field is a must before starting to plan a research project.

    These are important issues to consider if / when working within a commercial research environment. If you cannot outline the cost of the research, and the potential benefits of it, you will never be able to “sell” the idea / concept to a sponsor or stakeholder. And if you cannot maintain this understanding or belief in what the project is delivering then the project will never exist, or be cut short. As with everything, industrial research is based in a commodity environment – if the customer doesn’t want what’s on offer, or feels that it’s too expensive, then irrespective of the potential benefit it will remain on the shelf until the relative “value” justifies the work

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