Managerial Techniques for Flexibility and Structure in New Product Development

Sammanfattning: This thesis recognizes, evaluates, and introduces a number of managerial techniques for NPD being performed in an environment in need of high degree of both flexibility and structure at the same time. A managerial technique is a service or method, which has been made explicit, used by the management of a project or an organization.

Previous research has primarily focused on and described different perspectives and approaches of NPD, rather than practical techniques. Research into useful methods has often been poorly connected to the context and the complexity of managing NPD. Most managerial techniques described in the literature today focus on formalization and structure, rather than flexibility.

The author's experience of managing NPD has influenced the focus and there is an apparent practitioner perspective in the thesis. Most of the studies included in the thesis have been carried out in a proven innovative environment, characterized by a great need for both flexibility and structure. The principal methodological approaches have been; Action Science, Self-Ethnography and Insider/Outsider Team research.

The reasoning of this thesis suggests that the amount of flexibility and structure, respectively, shall reflect the context and the phases of industrial innovation. Organizations carrying out product development for all phases simultaneously are bound to have both flexibility and structure at the same time. The ability to choose from different managerial techniques can be seen as an important dynamic capability of the firm. In order to aid managers and professionals in this matter the purpose of the thesis has been to materialize the handling of flexibility and structure into explicit managerial techniques. The thesis suggests some managerial techniques that managers and professionals can use in their day-to-day in order to be able to handle the complex issues associated with controlling different projects using different methods. Thus, making the research relevant and actionable.

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