(503c) Breaking Barriers to Product Design Team Success (or Stopping Management from Undermining Teams)
AIChE Annual Meeting
Thursday, November 16, 2006 - 9:20am to 9:45am
More often than we like to admit, management decreases the probability of design team success through poor or inept instructions, lack of effective monitoring and support, and other dysfunctional behaviors. A few examples:
- management tends to provide too few strategic inputs and too many tactical inputs
- functional bosses of team members do not speak with one voice and conflicts among them are not resolved
- management criteria are fuzzy (the team's perception?) and the goal posts shift throughout the project
- management does not effectively use gates to hold teams accountable for their progress.
Obviously management does not intend to cause teams to fail. Why then do these destructive behaviors persist and, more importantly, what can be done about it? This paper will present examples of problems created by management and provide a model for more effective leadership, where management partners with teams to create the desired outcomes, on time and within budget. The context will be for product design teams in a fast moving consumer goods company, but the methodology is applicable to any design team situation. Project contracting, planning and risk management tools will provide the framework and systems thinking skills will be used to distinguish dysfunctional from effective behaviors.