The development and exchange of information is the single critical factor affecting many design and development activities. This applies to such diverse realms as new drug development, consumer electronics product development, new financial derivatives, software design, and so on. However, the groups may be organized physically, a rich and complex Web of information flow invariably characterizes the groups responsible for these concept-to-commercial activities. Despite this unofficial information network, most companies have official processes that describe a linear, idealized version of their work processes; this is illustrated in Figure 7.1.