The management of process development in the chemical indstry is a highly specialized activity requiring skills and experience that crosses many disciplines. Many people doing such work today are practicing in a corporate environment where management structure and support services are already in place. Organization managers have a portfolio of standard operating procedures (SOP’s) and daily operation is a relatively straightforward matter of keeping the ball rolling. Individual work product contributes to a large project where many people and large streams of cash are choreographed to arrive at a well defined goal. Degrees of freedom are frozen out and the dominoes are carefully prealigned to topple to a particular spot.

Process Development Warning: Eventually you may have to shoot the chemist and get on with the project.

(Alright, it’s a joke)

In smaller organizations where individuals have greater personal influence, where money is less certain, and where fewer operational resources may be available, the end state of a technology-push project may be less certain. Choices relating to the details and specification of a product can be changed with greater ease than may be possible in a larger organization with many layers of management.  This is both a benefit and a curse for the small business.

An organization that is not yet ossified with excessive management is one that may have the structural ability to adapt to the business environment with greater ease than one that is “over managed”.  But this is conditional. A small business responding to market pull may have better survivability if it is flexible. A technology push organization that seeks to bring a new product or service to market may actually suffer from too much organizational flexibility.

Smaller organizations have to invent and implement management structure that constrains the dominoes to topple to a defined endpoint. This can be quite difficult for Explorer-Discoverer types to set into action. The key thing for technical people to consider when starting an organization is that placing an organizational person in the founding member group is critical to building management structure from the outset.

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