While managers and researchers agree that the fuzzy front end of new product development (NPD) is critical for project success, the meaning of the term “front‐end fuzziness” remains vague. It is often used broadly to refer to both the exogenous causes and the internal consequences of fuzziness. This imprecise language makes it difficult for managers to separate cause and effect and thus identify specific prescriptive remedies for “fuzziness” problems. The vagueness of the concept and the lack of a framework for defining “front‐end fuzziness” also impede empirical research efforts. Building upon uncertainty theory, we define front‐end fuzziness in terms of environmental uncertainties. Front‐end fuzziness has consequences for a project’s team vision. It reduces the team’s sense of shared purpose and causes unclear project targets and priorities. Describes how foundation elements of a firm’s overall product development program can help project teams cope with front‐end fuzziness.
European Journal of Innovation Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 1, 2001
Keywords: New product development; Environment; Teams; Success