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Measuring the Effectiveness of Overlapping Development Activities


  • Christian Terwiesch

    (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1300 Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104)

  • Christoph H. Loch

    (INSEAD, Boulevard de Constance, 77305 Fontainebleau, France)


Overlapping development activities is widely used to reduce project completion times in product development. However, research on the applicability of the concept in different technological environments remains scarce. So far, very few industry-specific studies have statistically confirmed an accelerating effect of overlap. In the present article we statistically measure the effectiveness of overlapping development activities in reducing project completion time. Building on analytical research in operations management, we argue that this effectiveness differs with the organization's capability to resolve uncertainty early in the process. Projects benefit more from overlap if they are able to resolve uncertainty early. This contingency view to overlapping development activities is tested based on data from 140 completed development projects across several global electronics industries.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Terwiesch & Christoph H. Loch, 1999. "Measuring the Effectiveness of Overlapping Development Activities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(4), pages 455-465, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:45:y:1999:i:4:p:455-465

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Viswanathan Krishnan & Steven D. Eppinger & Daniel E. Whitney, 1997. "A Model-Based Framework to Overlap Product Development Activities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(4), pages 437-451, April.
    2. Christoph H. Loch & Christian Terwiesch, 1998. "Communication and Uncertainty in Concurrent Engineering," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(8), pages 1032-1048, August.
    3. Albert Y. Ha & Evan L. Porteus, 1995. "Optimal Timing of Reviews in Concurrent Design for Manufacturability," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(9), pages 1431-1447, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. V. Krishnan & Karl T. Ulrich, 2001. "Product Development Decisions: A Review of the Literature," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 1-21, January.
    2. Sam Ransbotham & Sabyasachi Mitra, 2010. "Target Age and the Acquisition of Innovation in High-Technology Industries," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(11), pages 2076-2093, November.
    3. repec:spr:grdene:v:24:y:2015:i:5:d:10.1007_s10726-014-9413-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Christian Terwiesch & Christoph H. Loch, 2004. "Collaborative Prototyping and the Pricing of Custom-Designed Products," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(2), pages 145-158, February.
    5. Donald Gerwin & Nicholas J. Barrowman, 2002. "An Evaluation of Research on Integrated Product Development," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(7), pages 938-953, July.
    6. Victoria L. Mitchell & Barrie R. Nault, 2007. "Cooperative Planning, Uncertainty, and Managerial Control in Concurrent Design," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(3), pages 375-389, March.
    7. Lin, Jun & Chai, Kah Hin & Wong, Yoke San & Brombacher, Aarnout C., 2008. "A dynamic model for managing overlapped iterative product development," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 185(1), pages 378-392, February.
    8. Nadia Bhuiyan & Donald Gerwin & Vince Thomson, 2004. "Simulation of the New Product Development Process for Performance Improvement," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(12), pages 1690-1703, December.
    9. Christoph H. Loch & Christian Terwiesch & Stefan Thomke, 2001. "Parallel and Sequential Testing of Design Alternatives," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(5), pages 663-678, May.
    10. Lin, Jun & Chai, Kah Hin & Brombacher, Aarnout C. & Wong, Yoke San, 2009. "Optimal overlapping and functional interaction in product development," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 196(3), pages 1158-1169, August.
    11. Nitindra R. Joglekar & Ali A. Yassine & Steven D. Eppinger & Daniel E. Whitney, 2001. "Performance of Coupled Product Development Activities with a Deadline," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(12), pages 1605-1620, December.
    12. Ryu, Sungmin & Park, Jeong Eun & Min, Soonhong, 2007. "Factors of determining long-term orientation in interfirm relationships," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 60(12), pages 1225-1233, December.
    13. Valle, Sandra & Vázquez-Bustelo, Daniel, 2009. "Concurrent engineering performance: Incremental versus radical innovation," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 136-148, May.
    14. Nelson, Richard Graham & Azaron, Amir & Aref, Samin, 2016. "The use of a GERT based method to model concurrent product development processes," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 250(2), pages 566-578.
    15. Paulo J. Gomes & Nitin R. Joglekar, 2008. "Linking modularity with problem solving and coordination efforts," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(5), pages 443-457.
    16. Vishal Gaur & Saravanan Kesavan & Ananth Raman & Marshall L. Fisher, 2007. "Estimating Demand Uncertainty Using Judgmental Forecasts," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 9(4), pages 480-491, April.
    17. Joglekar, Nitindra R., 2003. "Performance of coupled product development activities with a deadline," Working papers WP 4122-00., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    18. Indranil R. Bardhan & Vish V. Krishnan & Shu Lin, 2007. "Project Performance and the Enabling Role of Information Technology: An Exploratory Study on the Role of Alignment," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 9(4), pages 579-595, May.


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