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Many development practices and software tools enable new product development (NPD), yet few empirical studies shed light on the project characteristics and project contexts driving their use. Using a cross-sectional sample of NPD projects, this study examines how project characteristics and availability of information technology (IT) infrastructure relate to the use of NPD practices and software tools. We also examine how the extent of their use is associated with NPD project performance. The results indicate that different project characteristics influence the use of NPD practices and software tools, with project complexity associated with software tool use, but project uncertainty associated with NPD practice use. Also, customer facing IT infrastructure is associated with the use of NPD practices, while manufacturing plant IT infrastructure is associated with the use of design/validation software tools. Moreover, use of NPD practices has a positive association with all project-level performance metrics examined in this study, and as a result, a greater impact on overall market success. In comparison, the performance impacts of software tools appear relatively limited, with only design/validation software tools exhibiting a strong positive association with product performance quality and a weak positive association with time-to-market and responsiveness. Communication/teamwork software tools exhibit no such impact.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2012