Technology Management

Activities and tools

by Dilek Cetindamar, Rob Phaal and David Probert

Preface

The technology management (TM) discipline has a history of more than 50 years, becoming self-sustaining in the past 20 years with the emergence of specialized professional organizations and a rapid increase in the number of publications and degree programmes. TM is inherently interdisciplinary and multifunctional, but much of the existing literature looks at technological issues from either a restricted or a broad perspective. Some authors are concerned with the internal company management of research and development or technology strategy alone, while others concentrate on the broader topic of innovation and blur the boundaries between TM and other disciplines such as innovation management. In contrast, by trying to avoid both these traps, we aim to provide an integrative approach to the management of technology.

Although TM has become popular in the business community, an accessible handbook of practical frameworks and management tools is not available. Also, considering the rapidly evolving nature of the discipline, the majority of existing TM textbooks are outdated, mostly published before 2000. This book will focus on the micro-level analysis of TM as a dynamic capability. It attempts to link how firms carry out their TM activities with the major tools and techniques needed to succeed in conducting these activities. There is no single best way to manage technology in a company and there is no mechanistic route to success. There are, however, lessons that can be learned from other companies and theoretical frameworks to guide thinking and decision making, and tools and techniques to assist analysis. The book is arranged in two integrated parts. Chapter 1 gives a full account of the authors’ understanding of TM, outlined in a comprehensive process model that includes six specific TM activities – acquisition, exploitation, identification, learning, protection and selection. We argue that the process of TM is essentially generic, although organization and market-specific factors will constrain choices and actions. Part I (Chapters 2–7) covers all these TM activities/processes. Each chapter deals with a specific TM activity, comprising the definition of the activity, how to carry out the activity and a case study. In Part II, Chapters 8–13 provide a description of six major TM tools and techniques – patent analysis, portfolio management, roadmapping, S-curve, stage-gate, and value analysis. These tools are useful to carry out the TM activities outlined in the first part. Chapter 14 provides resources for tools, and Chapter 15 attempts to link TM activities with the tools. We hope that this integrated approach will help the reader to increase their understanding of the subject, breadth of potential analysis and scope for creativity in the application of these ideas.

Likely audience

This book will be useful to several types of reader:
  • Students on management and engineering education programmes
  • Students on other courses that include business, organization or technology units
  • Former students who wish to keep a reference of the main concepts they have studied and also wish to keep up to date with current ideas in the field of TM
  • Practising managers who wish to apply a more rigorous approach in their work
  • Consultants concerned with TM.
Taken as a whole, this book is written with the needs of two main target audiences in mind: students in engineering and management programmes who plan to become managers of technology in future, and technologists and managers at all levels. Our analysis is based on the systematic analysis of the latest management research, and our own research, consulting and teaching experience. The idea is to balance sound research and relevant theory with up-to-date practical applications and hands-on techniques. Managers, consultants and students looking for a broad, yet integrated approach should find that this book provides a view of the subject that is both timely and of enduring value. We hope that the book will become a primary source of information within the TM community.