Principles of New Product Management: Exploring the Beliefs of Product Practitioners
Journal of Product Innovation Management, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 235-247, June 1995
13 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2006
Conventional wisdom might lead us to conclude that the various disciplines involved in product development and management are often at cross-purposes. For example, practitioners from R&D and engineering have been known to suggest that marketing fails to understand the technical trade-offs involved in product management decisions. Conversely, marketing professionals sometimes complain that their technology-oriented colleagues pursue product development initiatives without adequate market awareness. And practitioners from both sides of this debate have asserted that research on new product development tends to be of the ivory tower variety, with little or no relevance for industry. Are such complaints valid? Perhaps it is time for a reality check.
By searching academic literature on product development, Roger J. Calantone, C. Anthony Di Benedetto, and Ted Haggblom have compiled a list of 40 fundamental principles of new product development. This list forms the basis for a survey of new product practitioners from marketing and technical disciplines. The study provides a means for assessing whether practitioners agree with the fundamental principles of new product development that are identified in current academic literature. By obtaining responses from both marketing and technical professionals, the survey also sheds light on whether those two groups hold fundamentally different beliefs regarding new product development.
The survey results reveal strong overall agreement among practitioners regarding these fundamental principles of new product management. Managers believe that 80% of the principles are either usually or almost always true. In other words, the survey results support the idea that the academic community is pursuing research issues that are relevant to practitioners, and that they are reaching valid conclusions.
There are only a few cases in which the responses from the technical and marketing practitioners differ. Those disagreements probably result from differences in the basic orientations of the two groups. For example, it is not surprising that marketing managers would be more likely to agree that product users and the marketplace form the most important source for new product ideas, while technical managers more strongly support the idea that radically new technologies constitute an important source of new product ideas. The respondents noted overall disagreement with only a few of the 40 principles. In many of these cases, the academic literature has reached mixed conclusions. In other words, these principles might actually be oversimplifications, and further research is probably needed before we can fully understand the issues involved.
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