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Improving project performance in product development
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0468-8503
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The development of new products and processes is a crucial point of competition and due to the rapid technological development and strong international competition, companies are being forced to design better products faster and more efficiently. In the last two decades large companies in particular have developed increasingly sophisticated models, process descriptions, structures and routines for how to steer and manage their often large and complex projects. Processes in product development projects often contain many dependencies among both tasks and people, requiring coordination of activities and the opportunity to capture incomplete information that evolves over time. When attempting to increase project performance, a strong focus has been on the efficiency of the projects, on doing things right. As a result, both in industry and in research, effectiveness, doing the right things, has gained less importance than it probably should. For companies to really increase their performance, effectiveness must be considered to a much higher extent.

The objective of the research presented in this thesis has been to increase the knowledge of how the performance of projects in a product development context can be improved. This involves investigating factors which affects performance on different levels of the projects such as the individual working on the project, the single project, the project organisation, the company, and the business context. Data have been collected through literature studies as well as a case study divided into two parts.

The research results show that project organisations face the challenge of being able to have projects running efficiently according to plan while at the same time exploring and creating new knowledge. Formalised product development processes can support the progress of projects, but there is a risk that exploratory work and innovation could suffer. This is a challenge, especially in contexts characterised by uncertainty and complexity. Further, a number of areas which affect the project performance were identified, including the business context, process characteristics, project model, project characteristics, and project management. These findings have resulted in a proposed start of a framework for improving product development project performance in dynamic contexts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University , 2015.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Licentiate Theses, ISSN 1651-9256 ; 192
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-27493ISBN: 978-91-7485-186-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-27493DiVA: diva2:787352
Presentation
2015-03-27, Filen, Mälardalens högskola, Eskilstuna, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-02-10 Created: 2015-02-10 Last updated: 2015-03-09Bibliographically approved
List of papers
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