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Managing Technology Development Projects

Robert G. Cooper


Technology development projects are the foundation or platform for new products and new processes and thus are vital to the prosperity of the modern corporation. But these basic research or fundamental knowledge-build projects are often mismanaged because companies employ the wrong process to manage them or apply inappropriate financial criteria for project selection. The result is that technology developments have become increasingly rare in the typical company’s development portfolio. To better manage such projects, leading companies have adopted a unique Stage-Gate® process specially tailored to the needs of technology development projects. This process consists of three stages and four gates, and feeds the front end of the typical new product process. Scorecards and the use of tailored success criteria are used to rate and rank these technology projects, while the “strategic buckets” approach to portfolio management ensures that dedicated resources are deployed for these higher-risk projects.