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They had 18 months to pull off a revolutionary new product design and have it ready for a tradeshow, and their business was very literally on the line. One problem: The last project like this had taken four years. This mini-case explains how they pulled it off.

What this is

An established family-owned company had historically dominated its niche, but was now threatened by competitors with deeper pockets and new technology. They faced a risky new project that would make or break the company's continued success: getting an entirely new machine designed, developed, and tested in time for a critical tradeshow in 18 months. This mini-case explains how they pulled it off.

Why it's useful

The company's approach to projects at this point was typical of firms facing a new reality. Ad hoc project approaches had worked fine for them in the past. But with new and well-funded competition, tighter timelines, and increasing technical complexity in their projects, ad hoc would not work in the future. Yet here they were, already into that tight timeline, with major questions about how to avoid the previous disaster.

Have you ever felt your team or organization needs to make some significant changes, but is so strapped for time and under so much pressure that you aren't sure what can be done quickly enough to matter? This case shows how one company turned the ship quickly and successfully.

How to use it

Spend 10-15 minutes reading this mini-case to learn how a VP's recognition of the business urgency, and willingness to try something totally new on a short timeline, set his division and this critical project up for a fresh, organized, energized restart.

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