TIP: Create a tech project manager role that is a matchmaker of direct relationships between development and the customer rather than a translator between the two.

The back story: I worked for a software company that developed and patented an enterprise document manage/workflow system using a client-server architecture in the mid-eighties. But bits/bytes are not the point of this post, managing change is.  Let’s just say this PC-based server architecture went where only mainframes had gone before, and for that moment in time was “disruptive technology,” – the business solution offered competitive advantage and cost savings but would fundamentally change (disrupt) how the work was done, and to some extent the work culture. Fast forward:  this is mainstream technology now. Usually the management of disruptive change happens after the fact. We all know how much fun that is. Alternatively, anticipating change could be a part of collaborative product development – that’s what we did, and it worked. Literally, on-site development (the R&D anthropology concept). Today developing project-duration social network/collaboration sites is another way.

Here’s a short video about how Pitney Bowes does customer-collaborative product development.

Leave your tips for R&D anthropology by adding a comment. Serious play is good for business.

Read the rest of this entry »