Modified stage-gate(r) regimes in new product development

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Title: Modified stage-gate(r) regimes in new product development
Author: Ettlie, John; Elsenbach, Jorg
Abstract: The purpose of this research was to explore the nature of the Stage-Gate (r) process in the context of innovative projects that not only vary in new product technology (i.e. radical versus incremental technology) but that also involve significant new product development technology (i.e., new virtual teaming harware0software systems). Results indicate that firms modify their formal development regimes to improve the efficiency of this process while not significantly sacrificing product novelty (i.e., the degree to which new technology is incorporated in the new offering). Four hypotheses were developed and probed using 72 automotive engineering managers involved in supervision of the new product development process. There was substantial evidence to creatively replicate results from previous benchmarking studies; for example, 48.6% of respondents say their companies used a traditional Stage-Gate(r) process, and 60% of these new products were considered to be a commercial Stage-Gate(r) process for new product development. Auto companies that have modified their Stage-Gate(r) procedures are also significantly more likely to report (1) use of virtual teams; (2) adoption of collaborative and virtual new product development software supporting tools; (3) having formalized strategies in place specifically to guide the new product development process; and (4) having adopted structured processes used to guide the new product development process. It was found that the most significant difference in use of phases or gates in the new product development process with radical new technology occurs when informal and formal phasing processes are compared, with normal Stage-Gate(r) usage scoring significant, indirect impact an organizational effectiveness. These findings, taken together, suggest companies optimize trade-offs between cost and quality after they graduate from more typical stage process management of this challenging process are discussed. In general, it was found that the long-standing goal of 50% reduction in product development time without sacrificing other development goals (e.g., quality, novelty) is finally within practical reach of many firms. Innovative firms are not just those with new products but also those that can modify their formal development process to accelerate change.
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Date: 2007-01

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