Research Results

In order to continuously improve the capability of developing new products it is important to be able to measure the performance in the product development process.

The literature study and findings based on industry experience indicate the dilemma though, is that there are no commonly accepted performance measurements within product development.

One reason, as concluded in this research, may be the lack of a common holistic perception of performance within the development process. With this in mind a total of 54 semi-structured open interviews at five case companies regarding performance in complex product development, as presented, were performed.

The results indicate that performance is commonly perceived in terms of time, cost, and quality i.e., what is measured by the performance measurement system.

Below, five typical citations of the perceptions of performance from the semi-structured open interviews are shown:

1) Performance within product development is to do the right things, as quickly as possible, and with as low cost as possible.

2) Performance within product development is to work with process improvements to shorten the lead time and make sure that the whole chain is involved at the right time.

3) Performance within product development is to shorten cycle times, deliver on time, and reduce time to market. If you look at the calculations, the normal cash flow, cash in cash out, for a normal net present value calculation, it is clearly shown that it is important to reach a positive cash flow as quickly as possible. It is equivalent of having a short time to market. Quality is also important, we have high costs for everything that is delivered to a customer and not working properly.

4) If it took three years to develop a new product a couple of years ago, I would want it to take 6 months today. The processes and steps that are required to develop a new product shall be more efficient to decrease the lead time. The pace should be higher and higher.