It is very refreshing to be able to review a book dedicated to project management in Research and Development, an Area of Application that is not typically covered. That is in spite of the fact that the pharmaceutical industry, for example, has been represented in the Project Management Institute's annual seminar/symposium as far back as I can remember (circa 1974). But in this book, author Ron Basu is clearly passionate about bringing more project management to today's world of the research and development industry.
Indeed, Ron's very first chapter is dedicated to explaining Why Project Management is Essential in Research and Development. This is not an easy sell. That's because the objectives of traditional project management and the goals of research and development (R&D) appear to be so far apart to the point of some degree of antipathy between the two. But as Ron says:
"Research and Development is the vehicle by which organizations and economies create opportunity, innovation and a secure stream of future products and services. These outcomes are the driving force of a value chain, and are all critically important sources of sustainability in a world that is changing faster than most companies can keep up with. The challenge behind them is the fundamental unpredictability of R&D; which is why project management is so important."
Ron Basu's book: Managing Projects in Research and Development explains how and why project management can provide a means of helping to plan, organize and control multi-disciplinary research activities without stifling innovation.
The author's primary target audience is obviously those engaged in the R&D industry, as well as those in project management associated, or contemplating association, with that industry. Nevertheless, the book can command a wider audience for those in project management who are willing to look past the traditional view of "on time, under budget" and tailor a broader view suited to other similar areas of application.
About the author
Ron Basu is Director of Performance Excellence Limited and a Visiting Fellow at Henley Business School, England. He is also a Visiting Professor at SKEMA Business School, France. He specializes in operational excellence and supply chain management, and has research interests in performance management and project management.
After graduating in Manufacturing Engineering from UMIST, Manchester, Ron obtained an MSc in Operational Research from Strathclyde University, Glasgow. He has also completed a PhD at Reading University. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institute of Business Consultancy, the Association for Project Management, and the Chartered Quality Institute.
1. Basu, R., Managing Projects in Research and Development, Gower Publishing Ltd., Surrey, England, 2015, text from back cover.