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Stacee Laboratories case

Please read the following incident and answer the question. Thank you!

Stacee Laboratories

Stacee's Labs, the research subsidiary of Stacee Pharmaceuticals, Inc., has a long history of successful research and development of medical drugs. The work is conducted by standalone project teams of scientists that operate with little in the way of schedules, budgets, and precisely predefined objectives. The parent company's management felt that scientific research teams should not be encumbered with bureaucratic record-keeping chores, and their work should go where their inspiration takes them.
A Special Committee of Stacee Pharm's Board of Directors has completed a study of Stacee Labs and has found that its projects required a significantly longer time to complete than the industry average and, as a result, were significantly more expensive. These projects often lasted 10-15 years before the drug could be released to the market.

The board called in a management consultant, Ms. Millie Tasha, and asked her to investigate the research organization briefly and report to the board on ways in which the projects could be completed sooner and at a lower expense. The board emphasized that it was not seeking nit-picking, cost-cutting, or time-saving recommendations that might lower the quality of Stacee Lab's results.

Ms. Tasha returned after several weeks of interviews with the lab's researchers as well as with as with senior representatives of the parent firm's Marketing, Finance, Government Relations, and Drug Efficacy Test Divisions, as well as the Toxicity Test Department. Her report to the board began with the observation that lab scientists avoided contact with Marketing and Governmental Relations until they had accomplished most of their work on a specific drug family. When asked why they waited so long to involve marketing, they responded that they did not know what specific products they would recommend for sale until they had accomplished and tested the results of their work. They added that marketing was always trying to interfere with drug design and wanted them to make exaggerated claims or to design drugs based on sales potential rather than on good science.
Ms. Tasha also noted that lab scientists did not contact the toxicity or efficacy testing groups until scientific work was completed and they had a drug to test. It usually took many months to organize and begin both toxicity and efficacy testing.
In Ms. Tasha's opinion, the only way to make significant cuts in the time and costs required for drug research projects was to form an integrated team composed of representatives of all of the groups who had a major role to play in each drug project and have them involved from the beginning of the project. All parties could then follow progress with drug development and be prepared to make timely contributions to the projects. If this were done, long delays and their associated costs would be significantly reduced.


Do you think Millie Tasha is right? If so, how should new drug projects be planned and organized? If Stacee Pharmaceutical goes ahead with the reorganization of lab projects, what are the potential problems? How would you deal with them? Could scope creep become more of a problem with the integrated teams? If so, how would it be controlled?

Solution Preview

Yes, Tasha is right regarding the formation of integrated team comprising of representatives from different groups involved in the drug project. The planning for drug projects should be planned and organized by taking inputs and suggestions from different groups. In other words, representatives of all the groups ...

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