Resolving competition between researchers and the development team

Development community’s success criteria

When placed in charge of the development of a new product, the development team’s motivation or success criteria is to see the new product introduced into operation and be a success in the marketplace. In pursuing this goal, development engineers understand that a successful new product does not need new technologies just for the sake of incorporating new technologies. Absent a clear marketing reason, new technologies are appropriately used only to the extent that they enable the requirements to be met, without unacceptable cost or delay, when existing technologies cannot fulfill the requirements. This is the essence of a third best solution.

The challenge often encountered by the system development community is that the technology advocates become gatekeepers to system development funding by gaining legislative or policy support for system solutions that incorporate their technologies. This stresses the system developers’ success criteria because they are being forced to compromise on selecting the system configuration most likely to be successful—their third best approach—in favor of someone’s approach with, most likely, greater cost, schedule delay, and risk.

When such competition appears, the decision on what technologies to adopt must be made by the chief systems architect/engineer. They have been given the responsibility to select a design fulfilling the target product goals. In essence, they have been asked to stake their professional career on making the new product a success. Any unwarranted outside influence on their decision process compromises the integrity of the product’s development. This removes the responsibility for success from the chief systems architect/engineer. Such is a likely path to failure.