Creating a distinctive advantage in the speed, efficiency, and quality of product developments is a major challenge for most firms. Achieving integration across functions lies at the heart of that challenge. While many authors recommend teams as a way to effectively manage development activities, realizing outstanding performance requires much more than simply naming members to a core team and designating a project head. A competitive advantage in product development capability requires fundamental changes in how work gets done; in the skills, capabilities, and tools team members bring to that work; in the support activities required from other groups inside and outside the organization; and in the responsibility and ownership taken by the project leader and core team for creating and executing the concept. This article lays out a framework for organizing and leading heavyweight teams and presents examples of companies that have made heavyweight teams a distinctive advantage.
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