Full citation

Yassine, A.A., Sreenivas, R.S., & Zhu, J. (2008). Managing the Exchange of Information in Product Development. European Journal of Operational Research, 184(1), 311-326.

Format: Peer-reviewed article

Type: Research — Non-experimental

Experience level of reader: Advanced

Annotation: Product Development is conceptualized as a sequence of decisions regarding information: to incorporate information immediately or delay incorporation; which is further dependent on whether the information is static (not likely to change over time), or dynamic (likely to change). The authors caution that information collection should cease once a threshold value is reached — the threshold being enough information to make a decision.

Setting(s) to which the reported activities/findings are relevant: Federal lab, Government, Large business, Small business (less than 500 employees)

Knowledge user(s) to whom the piece of literature may be relevant: Manufacturers, Researchers

Knowledge user level addressed by the literature: Organization

This article uses the Commercial Devices and Services version of the NtK Model

Primary Findings


  • The decision to incorporate new information into the design process should strike a balance. While it is important to incorporate useful information, management must differentiate between static and dynamic information, and consider the timing of incorporation. Incorporating later in the process increases the cost of re-working the design.
    Mathematical model creation and analysis.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Stage 5, Stage 6
  • The cost of reworking a design is based on three factors: 1) As more is time spent on an activity using outdated information, the amount of cumulative work that must be modified will be larger. Hence, rework time is an increasing function of the time between two successive incorporations of new information; 2) Rework time is dependent on how much the information and the activity are related. In general, a change in major input needs longer rework time than a change in minor inputs; 3) The degree of sensitivity which implies the robustness of the activity to changes. A larger degree of sensitivity indicates a longer rework timeframe.
    Mathematical model creation and analysis.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Step 5.4, Step 6.4


  • To maximize a product's expected performance at launch, any information deemed important input for downstream activities, should be frozen early in the development process — not permitted to change as the process progresses.
    Mathematical model creation and analysis.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Gate 6
  • The NDP team should stop pursuing additional information when the current information repository exceeds a predetermined critical value. Continuing to collect information puts the project into a design churn loop that increases costs and delays progress.
    Mathematical model creation and analysis.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Stage 5, Stage 6

Secondary Findings

Measure: NPD performance can be measured in various ways: 1) Development lead time and cost (Roemer et al, 2000); 2) Quality level in terms of number of open issues remaining (e.g., bugs in software) at time of launch (Yassine et al, 2003); 3) The number of features implemented or supported (Karlsson & Ahlstrom, 1999); 4) The amount of discrepancy between a desired goal and the actual NPD outcome (O'Donnell & Duffy, 2002). (O'Donnell & Duffy [2002])
Occurrence of finding within the model: Step 8.4

Model: A long list of typical decision gates within the context of product development including: information about customer needs; available technology, production costs, all used in the product concept phase to establish specifications. (Krishnan & Ulrich [2001])
Occurrence of finding within the model: Gate 6