Teaching Note | HBS Case Collection | May 1997

Managing Product Development: Matching Technology with Context, Instructor's Note

by Marco Iansiti


This overview to Managing Product Development (MPD) both previews course material, cases, exercises, and lectures--and provides its conceptual and academic underpinnings. Additionally, this note links these materials to the activities students will be undertaking in their term projects. The overarching premise of the course is that product development performance is driven by a process that matches technological opportunities (i.e., what is possible) to their application environment (i.e., user needs, manufacturing exigencies, and strategic aims). This process is particularly characterized by the generation, retention, and integration of knowledge through carefully designed and sequenced iterations of experimentation. Product development performance itself is linked to a variety of managerial levers that help "fit" the details of this process to its environment. These range from investment in experimentation methodologies and tools to the specification of an appropriate sequence of activities, project stages, and milestones; from the selection of an appropriate project organization to the creation of an effective development strategy.

Keywords: Curriculum and Courses; Product Development; Knowledge Management; Performance; Projects; Management Practices and Processes; Opportunities; Strategy; Management Analysis, Tools, and Techniques;


Iansiti, Marco. "Managing Product Development: Matching Technology with Context, Instructor's Note." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 697-103, May 1997.