Technology companies generally have an R&D department where people work with development. It’s taken for granted, just like having a finance department. But have you, as a manager, really thought about what you want to achieve with the R&D resources? It may seem like a silly question; Of course you know what the R&D department does and why. Or do you?
In the 1990s, Toyota and Scania developed the Pulse-room concept, or Obeya as it is called in Japan. The pulse room is a solution to the problem with weak management control when organising work as projects. This problem was highlighted by several research programs during the 1980s. The effect of an Obeya was immediate for Toyota; in some few years they were able to develop the hybrid car Prius, and new brands as Lexus and Scion. It took their competitors decades to catch up.
It is often hard for a management team to get an up to date overview of the company’s projects. The projects tend to slip through the grip because the checkpoints are few and far between, the projects generate largely “invisible” results, and resources go in and out of projects over time.