Organizational soul-searching as a prerequisite for new product development project

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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MSc program in Information and Service Management
MSc program in Information and Service Management
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Over the course of time product life cycles have become shorter due to rapidly evolving technological solutions and globalization (Jou et al., 2010). This has shed a shadow over traditional new product development (NPD) methods. The increased demand for more rapid and iterative ways to develop one's product with a close interaction with the end user has opened doors for more agile methodologies in product development (Rahimian & Ramsin, 2008). Since organizations are now equipped with a larger toolbox of different methodologies understanding the difference between what is feasible and what is optimal for your organization begins to matter. The aim of this study was to examine the performance of different development methodologies relative to organizational attributes, from a perspective of the development team. For the most part, this study derived from the possibility to investigate a longitudinal development project from the inside of the case company all the way from its idea phase till the release of the viable product. Furthermore, in the literature, application of multiple methodologies within a single context has not been evaluated extensively against organizational attributes. Applicability of different methodologies is more complex issue than people tend to think and thus the primary focus of this study was to answer the research question: How different development methodologies perform relative to organizational attributes, from a perspective of the development team? Qualitative single-case study was utilized as the research method for this thesis. The study focused on investigating the development project of digitalizing student card in Finland. Due to longitudinal nature of the study, researcher was able to retrieve empirical data from multiple sources; interviews with the development team and other members of the case company, participant observations and archival data from the project documents. The data collected through triangulation was further analysed by using pattern recognition and matching. The results showed that regardless of whether the organization applies stage-gate, agile or hybrid approach the performance should be assessed based on organization's positioning in regard to the attributes relevant for the new product development project. In other words, applicability of different methodologies should be analysed against organizational attributes. It is also important to notice that there can be opposite views on attributes within the organization but they need to be transparent for everyone involved, regardless of the polarization among the views. And finally, organizational attributes should be investigated before the any decisions are made regarding methodologies, meaning this pre-project study should be seen as a set of phases which contribute to the aggregation of the tacit knowledge within the organization relevant for the ensuing development project.
new product development, project management methodology, agile, stage-gate, hybrid, organizational attributes
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