Full citation

Stockstrom, C., & Herstatt, C. (2008). Planning and Uncertainty in New Product Development.R&D Management, 38(5), 480-490.

Format: Peer-reviewed article

Type: Experience

Experience level of reader: Fundamental

Annotation: The authors surveyed 475 research and development projects in Japanese electrical and manufacturing companies. The aim of this study was to identify new product development process success factors specific to radical and incremental innovations. Results reveal that increased intensity and formality of initial project planning are related to success in all types of projects. Further, post-project learning, and flexibility of the process are also important to successful new product development.

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

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

Method: Intensity of planning is the most influential factor (in new product development project success). The value of intensive project planning is hardly affected by technological newness, as both interaction effects are very small and not significant.
Survey of 475 research and development projects
Occurrence of finding within the model: Stage 1, Stage 2


  • The analyses show the importance of constant monitoring of project progress and the development of contingency plans to recognize changes as soon as possible and act upon changing conditions.
    Survey of 475 research and development projects
  • Results indicate that the changes and problems that occurred during the execution of the project contribute much more to learning than meticulous planning, which is based on past knowledge and proven solutions that have been devised to meet previously defined needs.
    Survey of 475 research and development projects
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 3, Gate 8, Step 9.3
  • Formality in research and development projects is beneficial regardless of the project-inherent uncertainty.
    Survey of 475 research and development projects