PRODUCT DESIGN BRIEFS AS KNOWLEDGE- BASED ARTIFACTS OF CROSS-FUNCTIONAL COLLABORATION IN NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT Open Access Deposited
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Date Modified: 12/06/2017
Contemporary research in business strategy, new product development, and design management has suggested that cross-functional collaboration within team-based environments is critical to successful product development processes. However, scholars have also demonstrated that the mere presence of inter-functional structures does not necessarily lead to better outcomes. Indeed, the very differences which cause cross-disciplinary teams to result in improved design processes may also lead to friction as team members’ backgrounds, orientations, and training often cause them to have different perspectives on what information is important to the product design process and to solve development-related problems. Improved understanding how to integrate information from differing functional areas is a clear emphasis of research, yet very few empirical studies have precisely defined the units of knowledge flowing through NPD projects, differences in importance of information elements by functional area, or the structures which may facilitate the sharing of information within NPD. This study presents an investigation of product design briefs as knowledge-based artifacts of cross-functional collaboration within NPD. Drawing on a proprietary sample of 68 briefs analyzed through an expert rating procedure alongside survey questionnaire of 153 product development managers our results define 51 information elements commonly shared between functional areas during an NPD project. We organize these information elements as eight factors, categorize the “importance” of each element to NPD success, and describe differences in evaluation from across three primary functional domains of NPD: (a) Design, (b) Marketing, and (c) Engineering/ R&D/ Development.
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