vp r&d

VP R&D: 5 Things You Need to Know Now

Here are five things you need to know about VP R&D. Read on to learn more.

5 Things You Need to Know About VP R&D

Get to know your people

Understanding what empowers and inspires your team members gives you a competitive advantage. Learn about what inspires each of your team members, as well as their interests and professional aspirations.

When you talk to each of your team members, listen for two things. First, listen to their aspirations, ideas, and interests. Second, listen for their strengths and challenges. 

You can then use that information to empower them to do their best work.

Also, make time for regular check-ins with each of your team members. Check-in on their progress toward their goals and aspirations. 

Always strive to be clear and aggressive about estimates

Uncertainty is uncomfortable for everyone involved. Using the best data you have available, be clear about what you know and what you don’t know. 

If you can, add the best guess with a high and low range (e.g., +10%, -20%). 

If you don’t know yet, say when you will know.

Insist on the highest standards

The standard is not what others do. The standard is what you do—or more precisely, the standard is what the customer expects. Any less is unacceptable. 

This doesn’t mean that everything must be perfect. It does mean that everything must meet the standard. 

If it doesn’t, work with your team to correct the issue and then inspect and re-inspect until it does meet the standard. Do not allow yourself or anyone on your team to lower the bar. 

Be relentlessly respectful of your team members’ time 

Your willingness to respect your team members’ time sends a clear signal to them about how they should feel when working with you and for you. 

It also tells them that you respect their time and their work. And they will respond in kind by giving their very best effort for you and your customers.

Be sure to always be respectful of your team members’ time, even when you are in a crunch. Because being respectful of your team members’ time is not just an issue during crunch time. 

Focus on building processes and strategy

As a VP of R&D, your job is to focus on building processes and strategy. So, you should leave that work to product managers and project managers.

There is no “how-to” guide for being a VP R&D. The role varies from company to company. And it evolves as companies grow and change. 

However, if you focus on these three things: 

  1. People: First, grow and develop your team members into leaders within your company
  2. Processes: Second, build processes that help your team members work effectively
  3. Product Strategy: Third, build a clear product strategy for your organization; then you will be well on your way as a VP of R&D.


In this article, we have discussed what it means to be a VP R&D. We have also discussed five things that you need to know about VP R&D.

We hope that this article has given you some direction on what it means to be a VP R&D. And we hope this information will help you become a better VP R&D.

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