ModIV Product Development Team

Topics: Product management, Marketing, Case Western Reserve University Pages: 33 (8263 words) Published: September 8, 2014
For the exclusive use of Y. Zhou
Harvard Business School

Rev. March 5, 1991

Mod IV Product Development Team
It was April 1989. Just four months remained until the Honeywell Building Controls Division (BCD) planned to introduce the Mod IV, and the product development team was fighting to stay on schedule. Mod IV, a motor used in heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) applications, represented the most ambitious project in the division's history, and the product's development reflected many of the changes the division had experienced in recent years. For three people in particular, Mod IV also typified the challenges of working amid new pressures and demands.

As director of HVAC Controls, one of the Building Controls Division's four product areas, Linda Whitman was the senior marketing person for the Mod IV product line and had primary profit and loss responsibility for Mod IV. She could see the impact a delay would have on her area's performance, and she understood the pressing market need to have Mod IV contain attractive features. When she first became director of HVAC Controls in 1986, she realized that marketing had to play a more active role in development of Mod IV. Since then she had watched her fellow marketers on the Mod IV team work through problems and conflicts with engineers, and she knew some of the most difficult issues still had to be resolved. But addressing any issue required patience, persistence, and tact, and even then Linda often found herself torn. She had to make sure HVAC Controls met its projections, which required collaborating with engineering and manufacturing, both of which seemed at times overburdened and at times unresponsive. Larry Rodgers, lead design engineer on Mod IV, had been involved in the Mod IV project for five years. He could sense the pressure mounting both on the team and on the division as Mod IV encountered difficulties entering the final months of the project. Larry and six of the engineers he supervised had their hands full trying to reduce the noise the Mod IV motor was generating. He knew the marketers had concerns about Mod IV's appeal to customers, but with BCD's limited resources and its stress on fast development, he wondered how he could address himself to marketing's concerns at this time. Like many engineers at BCD, Larry understood the competitive and financial challenges BCD faced, but he wondered if others appreciated the depth and complexity of design work and engineering problems.

Research Associate Joshua D. Margolis prepared this case under the supervision of Professor Anne Donnellon as the basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of an administrative situation. Figures in this case have been disguised.

Copyright © 1990 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. To order copies, call (617) 495-6117 or write the Publishing Division, Harvard Business School, Boston, MA 02163. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the permission of Harvard Business School. 1

This document is authorized for use only by Ying Zhou in Project Mgmt taught by George Vairaktarakis Case Western Reserve University from August 2014 to December 2014.

For the exclusive use of Y. Zhou

Mod IV Product Development Team

John Bailey, general manager of BCD, could all but hear the footsteps of competitors eager to grab business from his division. Although he bristled at the thought of a delay and its effect on BCD's ability to meet corporate financial targets,1 he wanted to respect the team's autonomy. John knew the team was grappling with several troublesome issues, and though he focused his attention on making sure the division met its objectives, he wanted to find ways to support the team as it addressed the...
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