In a company dependent on developing new products, it’s difficult to commercialize products quickly when the technical and commercial groups are at odds with each other. The problem may seem like it’s due to poor interpersonal communication, but often the more significant issue is an ineffective product development process.
We were engaged by the CEO of a start-up green chemicals company to resolve an impasse between her commercial and technical groups. Conflict between these functions is quite common. The commercial group needed samples quickly so that customers could test the products and start purchasing. The technical group was committed to follow a disciplined process to understand requirements and make sure that samples were developed to the correct specifications. The commercial folks were driven to generate revenue, and the technical folks were driven to develop quality products while preserving resources in a highly constrained environment. The two groups were pointing fingers at each other.
Sitting down with the VPs for both groups, we discovered that they each had different ideas about what was important [Read more…]