Managing Product R&D with Open Innovation – The Value of Project Management Practice


Professor Hubert Vaughan

Institute of International Engineering Project Management

Beijing, China


Application of project management practice changed the Product R&D process that created a “Model” encouraging Open Innovation. The case study revealed how project management played an important role in shaping the mind-set of project engineers and business partners (contractors) involved in the R&D of a Satellite Navigation Terminal, and the Innovative Product R&D model.

Keywords: Open Innovation; Project Management; Product R&D; progress management; Product Development Life Cycle; Component Definition; Component features; Product Assembly; Virtual Assembly; Collaborative Development

  1.  The R&D model in modern China.

In the mid-50, Chinese Central Government was determined to transform the nation from an agricultural country into an industrialize country as quickly as possible. Being closed off to the rest of the world at that era of history, the government was decided to move ahead with a vision but lack of a clear path to achieve the final goal. They finally took the approach of “Plan, Execute, and Adjust” along the way. This approach is theoretically viable for delivering strategic outcomes (which is still being used to achieve its economic growth and political changes) and filtered into a tactical process for delivering objectives. This “Plan, Execute, and Adjust had become a culture since then, and become the Do and Fix (DAF) model that last for more than half a century in China for Engineering and Scientific works.

  1.  Projects Management Challenges

Project Management knowledge was officially introduced into China in the year 2000. The past 13 years, organizations were hoping this most successful scientific management knowledge developed by the West can help organizations reduce cost, reduce project time, deliver quality products, and minimize unnecessary wastage along the way. Unfortunately, projects cost continued overrun, deadlines continue to slip, and successful project deliveries were by brute force instead of scientific management. Project Managers recognized the challenge of managing the un-structured, repetitive, unmanageable DAF delivery model. They were unable to estimate project timeline, budget, work efforts, plan resources, track progress, and deliver quality deliverable. All project baselines were more a gut-feel instead of using various estimation techniques.

Figure 1: Generic R&D model & Do And Fix (DAF) model


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Editor’s note:  Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. This paper was originally presented at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China in 2008.  It is republished here with author’s permission. 

About the Author

flag-chinapmwj16-Nov2013-vaughan-AUTHOR IMAGEProfessor Hubert Vaughan (Retired)

Beijing, China

Hubert Vaughan commenced his career in the field of computer technology in early 1972. For thirty years, Hubert practiced and served a number of International technology and financial Organizations including IBM, DEC, Unisys, Tandem, Bell Canada, Andersen Consulting, Lucent Technologies, National Mutual, ANZ Banking Group and Bank of Montreal; holding senior management positions in Technology related services. His career covered the five major continents around the world as Department Manager, Director, Assistant Vice President, and Vice President that spanned across software development, professional services, product development, technology consulting, project/program management, strategic planning as well as business development.

The last ten years, Hubert joined the Academic Institutions in China as Professor at the Institute of International Engineering Project Management (IIEPM) of Tsinghua University. Hubert also lectured at the Graduate School of China Academy of Science, the Beijing University of Aeronautic and Astronautic teaching Innovation Management, Management of Technology, Program Management, Project management, and Software Engineering.

Apart from his teaching engagements, Hubert is a Research Fellow at the China Academy of Management Science, a member of the International Society of Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM), a former member of PMI’s Certification Governance Council (CGC); a co-founder of First International Innovation Management Alliance (FiiMA), and an Editorial Advisor of professional e-journal PM World Journal. Hubert is a Program Consultant to a number of multi-billion dollars projects run by State-Owned technology organizations and financial institutions in China.

Hubert is a regular presenter at international conferences and seminars in North America, Europe, Middle-East and Asia-Pacific. He had published more than fifty papers related to Software Engineering, Project Management, Program Management, and Innovation Management subjects both in China and in various international professional journals.  Retired from his academic engagement in July 2013, Hubert continues his research work in Innovation Engineering and presents at international events about his research findings throughout his career. He can be contacted at [email protected]