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Hello!

Noticed in the WSJ this morning 9/21 that HP has announced plans to reduce the number of R&D projects they are doing.

According to the article they have 155 projects currently with 2-3 people working on each project. The new focus will be 25-30 projects with 25-30 team members staffing a project.

Obviously there are a lot of business decisions going on here, but the organization and people dynamics issue is the one I'm interested in right now.

Anyone have any thoughts or opinions?

Steve

bflynn's picture

I'm a little late catching up on this, but I don't view it as a positive move. In the world of innovation and new projects, you generally want more projects than less. Taking all new projects into account, the failure rate is generally agreed to be above 95%, although most of those never go much past the kick off.

One positive possibility - they may have identified the top 25 of the 155 projects and are concentrating resources on those projects. Essentially, they would be moving past the first phase R&D and into more of a development mode. In fact, the more that I think about it, the more likely that is. They had 300-500 people working on the old projects. They now have a minimum of 625 people working on the new projects. This is not a drawdown.

If they are concentrating on the most feasible projects, I would have liked to see a second round of new projects kicked off. This would build a sustainable pipeline of new projects.

Brian

rwwh's picture

Is each person working on only one project?

In my experience (much smaller company) each person working on one project only would leave people idling for some fraction of the time where the next step in the process is depending on someone else (either on the team or external).

I am aften struggling to keep the number of projects down. Not to be able to involve more people in each individual project, but to keep the number of projects that each person is working on at an acceptable level. (Hint: 10 is not acceptable).