Alan D. MacCormack

MBA Class of 1949 Adjunct Professor of Business Administration

Unit: Technology and Operations Management

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Alan MacCormack is the MBA Class of 1949 Adjunct Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. His research examines the management of innovation and product development in high-technology industries, with a focus on the computer software sector. Alan's research has been published in a variety of leading journals including Management Science, Research Policy and Harvard Business Review. In addition, he has written over 50 cases and notes that explore how organizations like Intel, Microsoft and NASA manage new product and service innovation efforts. Alan is currently teaching FIELD, a new MBA Required-Curriculum course that develops students’ teamwork and leadership abilities by helping them to solve real world problems in small teams. In 2011, he received the Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching for his role in designing this course. Alan holds a DBA from Harvard Business School, an MSc from MIT's Sloan School of Management and a BSc from the University of Bath in England.

Publications

Journal Articles and Peer-Reviewed Publications

  1. Spurring Innovation Through Competitions

    Alan MacCormack, Fiona Murray, and Erika Wagner examine the phenomenon of corporations using innovation contests. They write: "Companies are searching for better ways to identify and exploit novel solutions. Increasingly, they are discovering that many of the very best ideas lie outside their organizations, in an ecosystem of potential innovators who possess wide-ranging skills and knowledge."

    Keywords: Competition; Innovation Strategy; Innovation and Management;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, Fiona Murray, and Erika Wagner. "Spurring Innovation Through Competitions." MIT Sloan Management Review 55, no. 1 (Fall 2013): 25–32. View Details
  2. Prize-based Contests Can Provide Solutions to Computational Biology Problems

    Citation:

    Lakhani, Karim R., Kevin J. Boudreau, Po-Ru Loh, Lars Backstrom, Carliss Y. Baldwin, Eric Lonstein, Mike Lydon, Alan MacCormack, Ramy A Arnaout, and Eva C. Guinan. "Prize-based Contests Can Provide Solutions to Computational Biology Problems." Nature Biotechnology 31, no. 2 (February, 2013): 108–111. View Details
  3. Grand Innovation Prizes: A Theoretical, Normative, and Empirical Evaluation

    This paper provides a systematic examination of the use of a Grand Innovation Prize (GIP) in action—the Progressive Automotive Insurance X PRIZE—a $10 million prize for a highly efficient vehicle. Following a mechanism design approach we define three key dimensions for GIP evaluation: objectives, design, and performance, where prize design includes ex ante specifications, ex ante incentives, qualification rules, and award governance. Within this framework we compare observations of GIPs from three domains—empirical reality, theory, and policy—to better understand their function as an incentive mechanism for encouraging new solutions to large-scale social challenges. Combining data from direct observation, personal interviews, and surveys, together with analysis of extant theory and policy documents on GIPs, our results highlight three points of divergence: first, over the complexity of defining prize specifications; secondly, over the nature and role of incentives, particularly patents; thirdly, the overlooked challenges associated with prize governance. Our approach identifies a clear roadmap for future theory and policy around GIPs.

    Keywords: Design; Motivation and Incentives; Goals and Objectives; Performance; Auto Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, Fiona Murray, Scott Stern, and Georgina Campbell. "Grand Innovation Prizes: A Theoretical, Normative, and Empirical Evaluation." Research Policy 41, no. 10 (December 2012): 1779–1792. View Details
  4. Embracing Uncertainty

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "Embracing Uncertainty." MIT Technology Review (website) (February 20, 2013). View Details
  5. Exploring the Duality Between Product and Organizational Architectures: A Test of the 'Mirroring' Hypothesis

    A variety of academic studies argue that a relationship exists between the structure of an organization and the design of the products that the organization produces. Specifically, products tend to "mirror" the architectures of the organizations in which they are developed. This dynamic occurs because the organization's governance structures, problem solving routines, and communication patterns constrain the space in which it searches for new solutions. Such a relationship is important, given that product architecture has been shown to be an important predictor of product performance, product variety, process flexibility, and even the path of industry evolution. We explore this relationship in the software industry. Our research takes advantage of a natural experiment, in that we observe products that fulfill the same function being developed by very different organizational forms. At one extreme are commercial software firms, in which the organizational participants are tightly coupled, with respect to their goals, structure, and behavior. At the other, are open-source software communities, in which the participants are much more loosely coupled by comparison. The mirroring hypothesis predicts that these different organizational forms will produce products with distinctly different architectures. Specifically, loosely coupled organizations will develop more modular designs than tightly coupled organizations. We test this hypothesis, using a sample of matched-pair products. We find strong evidence to support the mirroring hypothesis. In all of the pairs we examine, the product developed by the loosely coupled organization is significantly more modular than the product from the tightly coupled organization. We measure modularity by capturing the level of coupling between a product's components. The magnitude of the differences is substantial—up to a factor of six, in terms of the potential for a design change in one component to propagate to others. Our results have significant managerial implications, highlighting the impact of organizational design decisions on the technical structure of the artifacts that these organizations subsequently develop.

    Keywords: organization design; Product design; architecture; modularity; open source software; Communication; Design; Governance; Management Practices and Processes; Open Source Distribution; Product Design; Mission and Purpose; Organizational Structure; Performance; Problems and Challenges; Behavior; Software;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, Carliss Y. Baldwin, and John Rusnak. "Exploring the Duality Between Product and Organizational Architectures: A Test of the 'Mirroring' Hypothesis." Research Policy 41, no. 8 (October, 2012): 1309–1324. View Details
  6. Do You Need a New Product-Development Strategy?

    Many firms rely on a single new-product development process for all projects. But designing new products for different business contexts requires that a firm deploy different new-product development processes. Products designed for stable and mature end-user markets require a process optimized for control and efficiency. In contrast, first-of-a-kind "breakthrough" products require a more emergent process that aims to discover whether there is any market to be served in the first place. Applying a uniform "best-practice" process to all development efforts ignores the major differences between these projects and may result in missed opportunities. This article describes a framework to address this problem, allowing a firm to better align the design of its development processes to the specific aims of individual projects. We illustrate this framework with examples from Hewlett-Packard, a large, diversified electronics firm that has successfully piloted this new approach across multiple business units.

    Keywords: Strategy; Product Development;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, W. Crandall, P. Toft, and P. Henderson. "Do You Need a New Product-Development Strategy?" Research Technology Management 55, no. 1 (January–February 2012): 34–43. View Details
  7. Managing Technical Debt in Software-Reliant Systems

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, N. Brown, Y. Cai, Y. Guo, R. Kazman, M. Kim, P. Kruchten, et al. "Managing Technical Debt in Software-Reliant Systems." In FoSER '10: Proceedings of the FSE/SDP Workshop on the Future of Software Engineering Research, 47–52. Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2010. View Details
  8. The Architecture of Complex Systems: Do Core-Periphery Structures Dominate?

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "The Architecture of Complex Systems: Do Core-Periphery Structures Dominate? ." Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings (2010). View Details
  9. Critical Decisions in Software Development: Updating the State of the Practice

    This article focuses on how to choose the "right" software development process, how to structure global software design chains, how to manage the interaction of project structure and software design, and how to balance innovation and efficiency in a software business.

    Keywords: Software; Product Development; Projects; Innovation and Management; Performance Efficiency; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, Michael A. Cusumano, Chris Kemerer, and Bill Crandall. "Critical Decisions in Software Development: Updating the State of the Practice." IEEE Software 26, no. 5 (September–October 2009). View Details
  10. Intellectual Property, Architecture, and the Management of Technological Transitions: Evidence from Microsoft Corporation

    Keywords: Intellectual Property; Technology; Transition; Software; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan David, and Marco Iansiti. "Intellectual Property, Architecture, and the Management of Technological Transitions: Evidence from Microsoft Corporation." Journal of Product Innovation Management 26, no. 3 (May 2009): 248–263. View Details
  11. Analyzing the Evolution of Large-Scale Software Systems using Design Structure Matrices and Design Rule Theory: Two Exploratory Cases

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, Matthew J. LaMantia, Yuanfang Cai, and J. Rusnak. "Analyzing the Evolution of Large-Scale Software Systems using Design Structure Matrices and Design Rule Theory: Two Exploratory Cases." Proceedings of the Working IEEE/IFIP Conference on Software Architecture (WICSA) (February, 2008). View Details
  12. Learning the Fine Art of Collaboration

    Innovations are increasingly brought to the market by networks of firms, selected for their unique capabilities and operating in a coordinated manner. This collaborative model demands that firms develop different skills, yet despite this need, there is little guidance on how to develop these abilities. Based on a recent study, this article describes the main factor differentiating those firms who excel at collaboration from those who struggle—the ability to learn how to collaborate. We describe the four areas in which firms must invest to get better at learning: People, Process, Platforms and Programs.

    Keywords: Supply Chain Management; Learning; Collaborative Innovation and Invention; Social and Collaborative Networks; Networks; Programs; Management Skills; Management Practices and Processes; Technology Platform; Market Platforms; Business Processes; Business Model;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, and Theodore Forbath. "Learning the Fine Art of Collaboration." Forethought. Special Issue on HBS Centennial Harvard Business Review 86, no. 1 (January 2008): 10–11. View Details
  13. Exploring the Structure of Complex Software Designs: An Empirical Study of Open Source and Proprietary Code

    Keywords: Software; Design; Information; Online Technology;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, John Rusnak, and Carliss Y. Baldwin. "Exploring the Structure of Complex Software Designs: An Empirical Study of Open Source and Proprietary Code." Management Science 52, no. 7 (July 2006). View Details
  14. Management Lessons from Mars

    Keywords: Management; Learning;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "Management Lessons from Mars." Harvard Business Review 82, no. 5 (May 2004): 18–19. View Details
  15. Software Development Worldwide: The State of the Practice

    Keywords: Software; Research and Development; Practice;

    Citation:

    Cusumano, Michael A., Alan David MacCormack, Chris Kemerer, and Bill Crandall. "Software Development Worldwide: The State of the Practice." 20th Anniversary Issue. IEEE Software 20, no. 6 (November/December 2003): 28–34. View Details
  16. Trade-offs between Productivity and Quality in Selecting Software Development Practices

    Keywords: Quality; Software; Research and Development; Practice; Performance Productivity;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, Chris F. Kemerer, Michael A. Cusumano, and Bill Crandall. "Trade-offs between Productivity and Quality in Selecting Software Development Practices." IEEE Software 20, no. 5 (September/October 2003): 78–85. View Details
  17. Managing the Sources of Uncertainty: Matching Process and Context in Software Development

    Keywords: Management; Risk and Uncertainty; Software; Research and Development; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, and Roberto Verganti. "Managing the Sources of Uncertainty: Matching Process and Context in Software Development." Journal of Product Innovation Management 20 (May 2003): 217–232. View Details
  18. Product-Development Practices That Work: How Internet Companies Build Software

    Keywords: Product; Research and Development; Online Technology; Web; Software;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, A. D. "Product-Development Practices That Work: How Internet Companies Build Software." MIT Sloan Management Review 42, no. 2 (winter 2001): 75–84. View Details
  19. Developing Products on Internet Time: The Anatomy of a Flexible Development Process

    Keywords: Research and Development; Product; Online Technology;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, A. D., R. Verganti, and M. Iansiti. "Developing Products on Internet Time: The Anatomy of a Flexible Development Process." Management Science 47, no. 1 (January 2001). View Details
  20. Developing Products on 'Internet Time': The Anatomy of a Flexible Development Process

    Keywords: Product; Online Technology;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, Roberto Verganti, and Marco Iansiti. "Developing Products on 'Internet Time': The Anatomy of a Flexible Development Process." Management Science 47, no. 1 (January 2001). View Details
  21. Developing Products on Internet Time

    Keywords: Product; Web; Online Technology; Manufacturing Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, A. D., and M. Iansiti. "Developing Products on Internet Time." Harvard Business Review 75, no. 5 (September–October 1997). View Details
  22. The New Dynamics of Global Manufacturing Site Location

    Keywords: Global Range; Geographic Location;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, A. D., L. J. Newman III, and D. B. Rosenfield. "The New Dynamics of Global Manufacturing Site Location." MIT Sloan Management Review 35, no. 4 (summer 1994). View Details

Book Chapters

  1. Evaluating the Impact of the Mozilla Software Redesign Effort

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, Carliss Baldwin, and John Rusnak. "Evaluating the Impact of the Mozilla Software Redesign Effort." In Design Structure Matrix Methods and Applications, edited by S. D. Eppinger and T. R. Browning. MIT Press, 2012. View Details
  2. R&D Project Selection and Portfolio Management: A Review of the Past, a Description of the Present, and a Sketch of the Future

    Keywords: Research and Development; Projects; Innovation and Management; Decision Making;

    Citation:

    Brunner, D., L. Fleming, A. MacCormack, and D. Zinner. "R&D Project Selection and Portfolio Management: A Review of the Past, a Description of the Present, and a Sketch of the Future." In The Handbook of Technology and Innovation Management. Edited by Scott Shane. Blackwell Publishing, 2009. View Details
  3. Developing Products for the Internet

    Keywords: Product Development; Internet; Technology; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, A. D., and M. Iansiti. "Developing Products for the Internet." In Sense and Respond: Capturing Value in the Network Era, edited by Stephen P. Bradley and Richard L. Nolan. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1998. View Details

Working Papers

  1. Visualizing and Measuring Software Portfolio Architectures: A Flexibility Analysis

    In this paper, we test a method for visualizing and measuring software portfolio architectures and use our measures to predict the costs of architectural change. Our data is drawn from a biopharmaceutical company, comprising 407 architectural components with 1,157 dependencies between them. We show that the architecture of this system can be classified as a "core-periphery" system, meaning it contains a single large dominant cluster of interconnected components (the "Core") representing 32% of the system. We find that the classification of software applications within this architecture, as being either Core or Peripheral, is a significant predictor of the costs of architectural change. Using OLS regression models, we show that this measure has greater predictive power than prior measures of coupling used in the literature.

    Keywords: Design structure matrices; Software architecture; Flexibility; Software application portfolio; Complexity; Software; Forecasting and Prediction;

    Citation:

    Lagerstrom, Robert, Carliss Y. Baldwin, Alan MacCormack, and David Dreyfus. "Visualizing and Measuring Software Portfolio Architectures: A Flexibility Analysis." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 14-083, March 2014. View Details
  2. Visualizing and Measuring Enterprise Architecture: An Exploratory BioPharma Case

    We test a method that was designed and used previously to reveal the hidden internal architectural structure of software systems. The focus of this paper is to test if it can also uncover new facts about the components and their relationships in an enterprise architecture, i.e., if the method can reveal the hidden external structure between architectural components. Our test uses data from a biopharmaceutical company. In total, we analyzed 407 components and 1,157 dependencies. Results show that the enterprise structure can be classified as a core-periphery architecture with a propagation cost of 23%, core size of 32%, and architecture flow through of 67%. We also found that business components can be classified as control elements, infrastructure components as shared, and software applications as belonging to the core. These findings suggest that the method could be effective in uncovering the hidden structure of an enterprise architecture.

    Keywords: Complexity; Software; Product Design; Pharmaceutical Industry;

    Citation:

    Lagerstrom, Robert, Carliss Baldwin, Alan MacCormack, and David Dreyfus. "Visualizing and Measuring Enterprise Architecture: An Exploratory BioPharma Case." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 13-105, June 2013. View Details
  3. Visualizing and Measuring Enterprise Application Architecture: An Exploratory Telecom Case

    We test a method for visualizing and measuring enterprise application architectures. The method was designed and previously used to reveal the hidden internal architectural structure of software applications. The focus of this paper is to test if it can also uncover new facts about the applications and their relationships in an enterprise architecture, i.e., if the method can reveal the hidden external structure between software applications. Our test uses data from a large international telecom company. In total, we analyzed 103 applications and 243 dependencies. Results show that the enterprise application structure can be classified as a core-periphery architecture with a propagation cost of 25%, core size of 34%, and architecture flow through of 64%. These findings suggest that the method could be effective in uncovering the hidden structure of an enterprise application architecture.

    Keywords: Communication Technology; Complexity; Software; Product Design; Telecommunications Industry;

    Citation:

    Lagerstrom, Robert, Carliss Y. Baldwin, Alan MacCormack, and Stephan Aier. "Visualizing and Measuring Enterprise Application Architecture: An Exploratory Telecom Case." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 13-103, June 2013. View Details
  4. Hidden Structure: Using Network Methods to Map System Architecture

    In this paper, we describe an operational methodology for characterising the architecture of complex technical systems and demonstrate its application to a large sample of software releases. Our methodology is based upon directed network graphs, which allows us to identify all of the direct and indirect linkages between the components in a system. We use this approach to define three fundamental architectural patterns, which we label core-periphery, multi-core, and hierarchical. Applying our methodology to a sample of 1,286 software releases from 17 applications, we find that the majority of releases possess a "core-periphery" structure. This architecture is characterized by a single dominant cyclic group of components (the "Core") that is large relative to the system as a whole as well as to other cyclic groups in the system. We show that the size of the Core varies widely, even for systems that perform the same function. These differences appear to be associated with different models of development—open, distributed organizations develop systems with smaller Cores, while closed, co-located organizations develop systems with larger Cores. Our findings establish some "stylized facts" about the fine-grained structure of large, real-world technical systems, serving as a point of departure for future empirical work.

    Keywords: Complexity; Software; Product Design;

    Citation:

    Baldwin, Carliss, Alan MacCormack, and John Rusnak. "Hidden Structure: Using Network Methods to Map System Architecture." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 13-093, May 2013. (Revised April 2014.) View Details
  5. The Architecture of Complex Systems: Do Core-periphery Structures Dominate?

    Any complex technological system can be decomposed into a number of subsystems and associated components, some of which are core to system function while others are only peripheral. The dynamics of how such "core-periphery" structures evolve and become embedded in a firm's innovation routines has been shown to be a major factor in predicting survival, especially in turbulent technology-based industries. To date however, there has been little empirical evidence on the propensity with which core-periphery structures are observed in practice, the factors that explain differences in the design of such structures, or the manner in which these structures evolve over time.

    We address this gap by analyzing a large number of systems in the software industry. Our sample includes 1,286 software releases taken from 19 distinct applications. We find that 75-80% of systems possess a core-periphery structure. However, the number of components in the core varies widely, even for systems that perform the same function. These differences appear to be associated with different models of development—open, distributed organizations developing systems with smaller cores. We find that core components are often dispersed throughout a system, making their detection and management difficult for a system architect. And we show that systems evolve in different ways—in some, the core is stable, whereas in others, it grows in proportion to the system, challenging the ability of an architect to understand all possible component interactions. Our findings represent a first step in establishing some stylized facts about the structure of real world systems.

    Keywords: Innovation and Management; Product Design; Practice; Core Relationships; Software; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, Carliss Y. Baldwin, and John Rusnak. "The Architecture of Complex Systems: Do Core-periphery Structures Dominate?" Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 10-059, January 2010. View Details
  6. Exploring the Duality between Product and Organizational Architectures: A Test of the Mirroring Hypothesis

    A variety of academic studies argue that a relationship exists between the structure of an organization and the design of the products that this organization produces. Specifically, products tend to "mirror" the architectures of the organizations in which they are developed. This dynamic occurs because the organization's governance structures, problem solving routines, and communication patterns constrain the space in which it searches for new solutions. Such a relationship is important, given that product architecture has been shown to be an important predictor of product performance, product variety, process flexibility, and even the path of industry evolution. We explore this relationship in the software industry. Our research takes advantage of a natural experiment, in that we observe products that fulfill the same function being developed by very different organizational forms. At one extreme are commercial software firms, in which the organizational participants are tightly coupled, with respect to their goals, structure, and behavior. At the other are open source software communities, in which the participants are much more loosely coupled by comparison. The mirroring hypothesis predicts that these different organizational forms will produce products with distinctly different architectures. Specifically, loosely coupled organizations will develop more modular designs than tightly coupled organizations. We test this hypothesis using a sample of matched-pair products. We find strong evidence to support the mirroring hypothesis. In all of the pairs we examine, the product developed by the loosely coupled organization is significantly more modular than the product from the tightly coupled organization. We measure modularity by capturing the level of coupling between a product's components. The magnitude of the differences is substantial-up to a factor of eight-in terms of the potential for a design change in one component to propagate to others. Our results have significant managerial implications in highlighting the impact of organizational design decisions on the technical structure of the artifacts that these organizations subsequently develop.

    Keywords: Open Source Distribution; Product Design; Organizational Design; Organizational Structure; Performance Effectiveness; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., John Rusnak, and Carliss Y. Baldwin. "Exploring the Duality between Product and Organizational Architectures: A Test of the Mirroring Hypothesis." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 08-039, March 2008. (Revised October 2008, January 2011.) View Details
  7. The Impact of Component Modularity on Design Evolution: Evidence from the Software Industry

    Much academic work asserts a relationship between the design of a complex system and the manner in which this system evolves over time. In particular, designs which are modular in nature are argued to be more "evolvable," in that these designs facilitate making future adaptations, the nature of which do not have to be specified in advance. In essence, modularity creates "option value" with respect to new and improved designs, which is particularly important when a system must meet uncertain future demands.

    Despite the conceptual appeal of this research, empirical work exploring the relationship between modularity and evolution has had limited success. Three major challenges persist: first, it is difficult to measure modularity in a robust and repeatable fashion; second, modularity is a property of individual components, not systems as a whole, hence we must examine these dynamics at the microstructure level; and third, evolution is a temporal phenomenon, in that the conditions at time t affect the nature of the design at time t+1, hence exploring this phenomenon requires longitudinal data.

    In this paper, we tackle these challenges by analyzing the evolution of a successful commercial software product over its entire lifetime, comprising six major "releases." In particular, we develop measures of modularity at the component level, and use these to predict patterns of evolution between successive versions of the design. We find that modularity has a strong and unambiguous impact on design evolution. Specifically, we show that i) tightly-coupled components are "harder to kill," in that they have a greater likelihood of survival in subsequent versions of a design; ii) tightly-coupled components are "harder to maintain," in that they experience more surprise changes to their dependency relationships that are not associated with new functionality; and iii) tightly-coupled components are "harder to augment," in that the mix of new components added in each version is significantly more modular than the legacy design.

    Keywords: Product Design; Adaptation; Software; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, John Rusnak, and Carliss Y. Baldwin. "The Impact of Component Modularity on Design Evolution: Evidence from the Software Industry." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 08-038, December 2007. View Details
  8. Innovation through Global Collaboration: A New Source of Competitive Advantage

    Many recent studies highlight the need to rethink the way we manage innovation. Traditional approaches, based on the assumption that the creation and pursuit of new ideas is best accomplished by a centralized and collocated R&D team, are rapidly becoming outdated. Instead, innovations are increasingly brought to the market by networks of firms, selected for their unique capabilities, and operating in a coordinated manner. This new model demands that firms develop different skills, in particular, the ability to collaborate with partners to achieve superior innovation performance. Yet despite this need, there is little guidance on how to develop or deploy this ability. This article describes the results of a study to understand the strategies and practices used by firms that achieve greater success in their collaborative innovation efforts. We found many firms mistakenly applied an "outsourcing" mindset to collaboration efforts which, in turn, led to three critical errors: First, they focused solely on lower costs, failing to consider the broader strategic role of collaboration. Second, they didn't organize effectively for collaboration, believing that innovation could be managed much like production and partners treated like "suppliers." And third, they didn't invest in building collaborative capabilities, assuming that their existing people and processes were already equipped for the challenge. Successful firms, by contrast, developed an explicit strategy for collaboration and made organizational changes to aid performance in these efforts. Ultimately, these actions allowed them to identify and exploit new business opportunities. In sum, collaboration is becoming a new and important source of competitive advantage. We propose several frameworks to help firms develop and exploit this new ability.

    Keywords: Collaborative Innovation and Invention; Groups and Teams; Research and Development; Performance Improvement; Management Practices and Processes; Partners and Partnerships; Competency and Skills; Framework; Competitive Advantage; Global Strategy; Opportunities; Cost;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, Theodore Forbath, Peter Brooks, and Patrick Kalaher. "Innovation through Global Collaboration: A New Source of Competitive Advantage." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 07-079, July 2007. (revised August 2007.) View Details
  9. From Outsourcing to Global Collaboration: New Ways to Build Competitiveness

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan David, Theodore Forbath, Peter Brooks, and Patrick Kalaher. "From Outsourcing to Global Collaboration: New Ways to Build Competitiveness." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 07-080, May 2007. View Details
  10. Evolution Analysis of Large-Scale Software Systems Using Design Structure Matrices and Design Rule Theory

    Citation:

    LaMantia, Matthew J., Yuanfang Cai, Alan David MacCormack, and John Rusnak. "Evolution Analysis of Large-Scale Software Systems Using Design Structure Matrices and Design Rule Theory." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 07-081, April 2007. View Details
  11. A Dependency Matrix Tool to Analyze Software Architecture

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, Carliss Y. Baldwin, and John Rusnak. "A Dependency Matrix Tool to Analyze Software Architecture." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 06-047, March 2006. View Details
  12. Developing Complex Systems in Dynamics Environments: A Study of "Architectural Innovation"

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. Developing Complex Systems in Dynamics Environments: A Study of "Architectural Innovation". Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 02-035, December 2001. View Details
  13. Towards a Contingent Model of the New Product Development Process: A Comparative Empirical Study

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "Towards a Contingent Model of the New Product Development Process: A Comparative Empirical Study." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 00-077, May 2000. View Details

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Doing Business in Peru

    Keywords: Developing Countries and Economies; Peru;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, Gustavo Herrero, and Maria Fernanda Miguel. "Doing Business in Peru." Harvard Business School Case 614-027, March 2014. View Details
  2. Barnes & Noble: Managing the E-Book Revolution

    The case describes competition in the market for E-Books, and Barnes & Noble's Strategy in this industry. As a traditional retailer, B&N was challenged by the introduction of digital technologies that allow books to be published, distributed and sold to consumers electronically. New competitors like Amazon and Apple attacked the traditional industry structure, creating many uncertainties over the long-term viability of traditional retailers. Amid this uncertainty, B&N must decide how to compete, in terms of both devices that can read E-Books, as well as standards for their distribution. Should they create a separate digital business, centered around their "Nook" E-Book reader, or maintain an integrated strategy? And how should they think about the fragmented standards for distributing E-Books? The case allows students to probe the dynamics of platform-based industries, as well as what happens in traditional industries when attacked by new competitors adopting new digital technologies. It is developed using public source material.

    Keywords: innovation; product development; technology strategy; platform competition; Standards; disruptive innovation; Innovation Strategy; Technology; Product Development; Technology Platform; Standards; Disruptive Innovation; Retail Industry; Publishing Industry; North America;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, Brian Kimball Dunn, and Chris F. Kemerer. "Barnes & Noble: Managing the E-Book Revolution." Harvard Business School Case 613-073, March 2013. (Revised April 2014.) View Details
  3. Research In Motion: The Mobile OS Platform War

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, Brian Kimball Dunn, and Chris F. Kemerer. "Research In Motion: The Mobile OS Platform War." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 614-041, November 2013. View Details
  4. Barnes & Noble: Managing the E-Book Revolution

    In 2012, Barnes & Noble found itself in a difficult position. While the company had weathered the advent of online retailing relatively well, the arrival of electronic books (e-books) threatened the company's viability. Primary competitor Borders had already fallen by the wayside, and the decisions Barnes & Noble would take with regard to e-books would dictate whether the company would have a bright future. The case explores the arrival of the e-book industry, its history and key players, and provides a basis from which to explore Barnes & Noble's outlook and options as the company seeks to adapt to the onset of a transformative new technology.

    Keywords: Technological Innovation; Online Technology; Adaptation; Books; Retail Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, Brian Kimball Dunn, and Chris F. Kemerer. "Barnes & Noble: Managing the E-Book Revolution." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 614-040, November 2013. View Details
  5. Doing Business in Vietnam

    This case gives an overview of the current business environment in Vietnam as of 2012. The first part of the case introduces the main economic, political and cultural aspects of the country of which anyone who has business interest in the country ought to be aware. The second section highlights some of the advantages and challenges of investing and doing business in Vietnam, by drawing upon the experiences and insights of HBS alumni who have worked in the country. Finally the case presents the decision of an HBS alumnus who is a director of a multinational cement company in Vietnam. The company's concrete business would benefit from full integration of its supply chain, which would include securing a quarry. He must decide how best to pursue this integration, given the business and regulatory environment in Vietnam and weighing other factors such as the macroeconomic outlook and the forecast for the construction industry in Vietnam.

    Keywords: emerging market finance; emergent countries; strategy; business history; Economic History; Emerging Markets; Business Ventures; Strategy; Viet Nam;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, Michael Shih-ta Chen, and Dawn H. Lau. "Doing Business in Vietnam." Harvard Business School Case 713-434, October 2012. (Revised November 2012.) View Details
  6. Research In Motion: The Mobile OS Platform War

    The case describes competition in the market for smart phones in the US, and the position of one player, Research In Motion (RIM) who manufacture the popular Blackberry line of products. Early in 2011, RIM is in trouble. Its stock price has plummeted, amidst poor business results, and its future as an independent company is in doubt. A new Chief Executive Officer, Thorsten Heins, must decide how to position the company for the future. The case allows students to understand the strategic dynamics in platform-based industries in general, and to explore more specifically how a firm that led the industry in 2007 could fall to earth so dramatically four years later. The case is based upon data and information from public sources.

    Keywords: innovation; product development; technology strategy; platform strategy; software; hardware; Technological Innovation; Innovation Strategy; Hardware; Mobile Technology; Technology Platform; Telecommunications Industry; Technology Industry; Canada; United States;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, Brian Dunn, and Chris F. Kemerer. "Research In Motion: The Mobile OS Platform War." Harvard Business School Case 613-001, July 2012. (Revised April 2014.) View Details
  7. BYD Company, Ltd.

    Considers whether BYD Co., Ltd., the largest Chinese maker of rechargeable batteries, should enter the Chinese automobile industry by acquiring Qinchuan Auto, a state-owned car manufacturer. Set just after BYD's initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2002, it describes the development of BYD's labor-intensive approach to battery manufacturing -- an approach decidedly different from its more capital-intensive Japanese competitors and one that took advantage of the abundant supply of low-cost labor in China. Highlights the unique benefits and challenges created by BYD's operations strategy and asks students to determine whether the capabilities developed by the company in battery manufacturing can productively be applied to the automobile sector. Asks students to consider which, if any, aspects of BYD's operations constitute sources of sustainable competitive advantage for the company.

    Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Labor; Production; Competitive Advantage; Diversification; Auto Industry; Battery Industry; Manufacturing Industry; China;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., and Alan D. MacCormack. "BYD Company, Ltd." Harvard Business School Case 606-139, April 2006. (Revised September 2009.) View Details
  8. Linux, Supplement to Epodia

    Keywords: Computer Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Lee Fleming. "Linux, Supplement to Epodia." Harvard Business School Supplement 606-067, January 2006. (Revised May 2007.) View Details
  9. D-Wave Systems: Building a Quantum Computer (TN)

    Keywords: Computer Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "D-Wave Systems: Building a Quantum Computer (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 606-131, June 2006. View Details
  10. Reinventing the Automobile: General Motors' AUTOnomy Project (TN)

    Keywords: Auto Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Reinventing the Automobile: General Motors' AUTOnomy Project (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 606-129, May 2006. View Details
  11. Activision: The 'Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer' Project (TN)

    Keywords: Media and Broadcasting Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Activision: The 'Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer' Project (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 606-130, May 2006. View Details
  12. Virgin.com (TN)

    Keywords: Web Services Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Virgin.com (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 606-132, May 2006. View Details
  13. Managing Innovation in an Uncertain World: Module 1: Innovation and Uncertainty

    Describes the first module of a Harvard Business School 30-session elective course called Managing Innovation in an Uncertain World. The course helps students understand the challenges that uncertainty implies for innovation and how to overcome these challenges. The course emphasizes multiple levels of analysis--from creating and executing development projects to building and balancing portfolios of project, to assessing and selecting future opportunities for development--showing how to align these activities to take advantage of the opportunities uncertainty presents. Students respond to all the situations they encounter from these multiple perspectives, and they wear an array of hats, from project manager to CEO, to appreciate how various organizational roles themselves reflect these perspectives. The first module, Innovation and Uncertainty, introduces students to the challenge of managing innovation in general and underscores the relationship between innovation and uncertainty in particular. It introduces the terminology used in the course--specifically, how the challenge of uncertainty can be framed in terms of how an organization explores its innovation landscape and exploits design spaces that are carved out of it. The module helps students understand that organizations make decisions differently when they think in such terms.

    Keywords: Design; Curriculum and Courses; Innovation and Management; Projects; Opportunities; Perspective;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Managing Innovation in an Uncertain World: Module 1: Innovation and Uncertainty." Harvard Business School Background Note 606-125, April 2006. View Details
  14. Microsoft.NET User Scenario Video Clips

    Keywords: Software; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Microsoft.NET User Scenario Video Clips." Harvard Business School Video Supplement 606-705, April 2006. View Details
  15. Siemens ShareNet: Building a Knowledge Network (TN)

    Keywords: Knowledge; Medical Devices and Supplies Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Siemens ShareNet: Building a Knowledge Network (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 606-128, March 2006. View Details
  16. Managing Innovation in an Uncertain World: Course Overview Note

    The Harvard Business School Managing Innovation in an Uncertain World course helps students understand the challenges that uncertainty implies for innovation and how to overcome them. The course emphasizes multiple levels of analysis--from creating and executing development project, to building and balancing portfolios of project, to assessing and selecting future opportunities for development--showing how to align these activities to meet uncertainty and take advantage of the opportunities it presents. Allows students to respond to all the situations they encounter from multiple perspectives, assume different roles--from project manager to CEO--to appreciate how the various organizational roles themselves reflect these perspectives.

    Keywords: Curriculum and Courses; Innovation and Management; Projects; Opportunities; Perspective; Management Analysis, Tools, and Techniques; Risk and Uncertainty; Problems and Challenges; Managerial Roles;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Managing Innovation in an Uncertain World: Course Overview Note." Harvard Business School Background Note 606-105, March 2006. View Details
  17. Managing Innovation in an Uncertain World: Module 3: Expanding Diversity

    Describes the third module of the 30-session Harvard Business School elective course Managing Innovation in an Uncertain World. The course helps students understand the challenges that uncertainty implies for innovation and how to overcome them. The course emphasizes multiple levels of analysis--from creating and executing development projects to building and balancing portfolios of projects to assessing and selecting future opportunities for development--showing how to align these activities to face uncertainties and take advantage of the opportunities they present. Allows students to respond the situations from multiple perspectives and assume different roles--from project manager to CEO--to appreciate how various organizational roles themselves reflect these perspectives. The third module, Expanding Diversity, exposes students to several perspectives and associated techniques by which organizations identify new dimensions along which innovation is possible. Rather than adopt a single best practice approach for this endeavor, the module emphasizes, organizations much acknowledge an array of techniques, each of which provides a different lens through which to view opportunities. The module thus resolves a seeming paradox: By embracing greater variation in the processes that an organization uses to explore new innovation possibilities, the landscape that results appears less unpredictable. The materials introduce several structured techniques through which managers can exercise their cognitive abilities to perceive new possibilities, expanding the opportunities available to them.

    Keywords: Innovation and Management; Business Processes; Projects; Risk and Uncertainty; Product Development; Managerial Roles; Opportunities; Perspective; Expansion; Goals and Objectives;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Managing Innovation in an Uncertain World: Module 3: Expanding Diversity." Harvard Business School Module Note 606-126, March 2006. View Details
  18. Managing Innovation in an Uncertain World: Module 4: Sensing Opportunity

    Describes the fourth module of the 30-session Harvard Business School elective course Managing Innovation in an Uncertain World. The course helps students understand the challenges that uncertainty implies for innovation and how to overcome them. The course emphasizes multiple levels of analysis--from creating and executing development projects to building and balancing portfolios of projects to assessing and selecting future opportunities for development--showing how to align these activities to face uncertainties and take advantage of the opportunities they present. Allows students to respond the situations from multiple perspectives and assume different roles--from project manager to CEO--to appreciate how various organizational roles themselves reflect these perspectives. The fourth module, Sensing Opportunity, focuses on how organizations manage opportunities for innovation in the future. A central theme is that in many environments, opportunities emerge and evolve in a dynamic and unpredictable manner. New possibilities may arise in locations far from a firm's existing focus and along dimensions not previously considered relevant. Hence, there is a need both to sense and to shape the evolution of the organization's innovation landscape, allowing what is unknown to come into view. (Students, having explored the dimensions of this landscape in the prior module, are primed for this perspective.) The module introduces a structured way to achieve this objective--in particular, through the design of so-called sensing networks, which scan the periphery of a firm's innovation landscape for important signals that demand attention. The materials motivate the need for such networks, demonstrate how they can be designed and managed, and highlight the mechanisms through which they create value.

    Keywords: Innovation and Management; Problems and Challenges; Management Analysis, Tools, and Techniques; Projects; Opportunities; Risk and Uncertainty; Perspective; Value Creation; Networks; Alignment;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Managing Innovation in an Uncertain World: Module 4: Sensing Opportunity." Harvard Business School Module Note 606-104, March 2006. View Details
  19. Managing Innovation in an Uncertain World

    Describes the second module of the 30-session Harvard Business School elective course Managing Innovation in an Uncertain World. The course helps students understand the challenges that uncertainty implies for innovation and how to overcome these challenges. The course emphasizes multiple levels of analysis--from creating and executing development projects to building and balancing portfolios of projects to assessing and selecting future opportunities for development--showing how these activities can be aligned to face uncertainties and take advantage of the opportunities they present. Students respond to the situations from multiple perspectives and assume different roles--from project manager to CEO--to appreciate how various organizational roles themselves reflect these perspectives. The second module forms the heart of the course. Focuses on how firms define and explore the design spaces they choose to exploit, emphasizing themes that highlight how firms respond to the uncertainty they face in new product development projects and new business ventures. These themes address various organizational aspects, including development process flexibility, systems for experimentation and learning, product and organizational design, and program and portfolio design. They emphasize that a coherent approach to managing innovation requires that a firm understand how to deal with uncertainty within projects, across projects (i.e., in designing a portfolio), and over time (i.e., in designing a program). A central insight is the need to coordinate actions across these levels.

    Keywords: Innovation and Management; Problems and Challenges; Business Processes; Perspective; Opportunities; Risk and Uncertainty; Managerial Roles; Product Design; Business Startups; Organizational Design;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Managing Innovation in an Uncertain World." Harvard Business School Module Note 606-103, March 2006. View Details
  20. Microsoft.NET (TN)

    Keywords: Software;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Microsoft.NET (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 606-127, March 2006. View Details
  21. Mission to Mars (A) (TN)

    Keywords: Aerospace Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Mission to Mars (A) (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 606-101, March 2006. View Details
  22. The Fate of the Vasa (TN)

    Keywords: History;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "The Fate of the Vasa (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 606-102, March 2006. View Details
  23. Microsoft Office 2000 TN

    Teaching Note for (9-600-023), (9-600-097), and (9-600-502).

    Keywords: Information Technology Industry; District of Columbia;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Microsoft Office 2000 TN." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 602-034, September 2001. (Revised March 2006.) View Details
  24. The Rise and Fall of Iridium, The (TN)

    Teaching Note for (9-601-040).

    Keywords: Telecommunications Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "The Rise and Fall of Iridium, The (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 602-106, January 2002. (Revised March 2006.) View Details
  25. Red Hat and the Linux Revolution TN

    Teaching Note for (9-600-009).

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Red Hat and the Linux Revolution TN." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 602-150, March 2002. (Revised March 2006.) View Details
  26. Space Data Corporation TN

    Teaching Note for (9-602-121).

    Keywords: Technology Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Space Data Corporation TN." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 602-149, March 2002. (Revised March 2006.) View Details
  27. Intel Research: Exploring the Future (TN)

    Keywords: Semiconductor Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Intel Research: Exploring the Future (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 606-119, March 2006. View Details
  28. Intel Research: Exploring the Future

    It is 2004 and David Tennenhouse, the director of Intel Research, is reviewing the organization he has built since 2000. Intel Research was charged with exploring new and disruptive technologies that lay off the "silicon roadmap" that drove most of Intel's R&D efforts. This exploratory research was conducted using an approach that Tennenhouse oversaw during his years at the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency. Predicated on the funding of university grants, internal research efforts, joint labs run with universities, and selective corporate venture investments, the idea was to build a network to give advance warning of important new technologies. In 2004, Tennenhouse was reviewing its performance.

    Keywords: Disruptive Innovation; Technological Innovation; Research and Development; Performance Evaluation; Venture Capital; Technology Networks; Semiconductor Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Kerry Herman. "Intel Research: Exploring the Future." Harvard Business School Case 605-051, December 2004. (Revised October 2005.) View Details
  29. Reinventing the Automobile: General Motors' AUTOnomy Project

    Describes the history of General Motor's attempts to develop a hydrogen fuel-cell powered car. As of 2003, GM developed several prototypes of such a vehicle to demonstrate the viability of the overall concept. Many uncertainties remained, however, with respect to the issues of cost, safe storage of hydrogen on a vehicle, and the lack of a hydrogen-refueling infrastructure. Aids students in developing a strategy for pushing this initiative forward, including tackling the question of how radical the new design should be and what to do about competitors who have aggressively pushed interim technology-hybrid vehicles--which GM has chosen not to emphasize in its product portfolio. Includes color exhibits.

    Keywords: Problems and Challenges; Management; Technology; Transition; Competency and Skills; Disruptive Innovation; Machinery and Machining; Auto Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Kerry Herman. "Reinventing the Automobile: General Motors' AUTOnomy Project." Harvard Business School Case 604-064, November 2003. (Revised August 2005.) View Details
  30. Activision: The 'Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer' Project

    Mike Ward, the producer in charge of developing the Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer game for Activision, must decide whether to launch the game in time for the 2002 Christmas season. Complicating his decision are the lukewarm response from consumers to TV test spots of the game and the need to fund a multimillion dollar marketing campaign. Also describes Activision's approach to game development, which was based on a green-light process adopted by the firm in 2000 to better control new game development better.

    Keywords: Games, Gaming, and Gambling; Product Development; Customer Satisfaction; Projects; Business or Company Management; Product Launch; Marketing Strategy; Decision Choices and Conditions; Industry Structures; Innovation Strategy; Entertainment and Recreation Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., Enrico D"Angelo, and Kerry Herman. "Activision: The 'Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer' Project." Harvard Business School Case 605-020, July 2004. (Revised July 2005.) View Details
  31. Fate of the Vasa, The

    In 1628, the royal warship Vasa was launched. It was Sweden's most expensive naval vessel ever built, costing over 5% of GNP. On its maiden voyage, the ship sailed 1,400 yards in its own harbor, heeled over to the side, and then sank. One third of the 150 crew and officers were killed. An inquiry was convened to establish the cause of the disaster, with testimony taken from, among others, the ship's captain, its officers, the ship's designer, and those responsible for its construction. No one was found guilty of negligence. The question is "Why did the Vasa sink?" The answer lies in the state of knowledge about shipbuilding of the time, the continual changes requested by the king, who was fighting in the Baltic, and the resulting experimental nature of the design.

    Keywords: History; Risk and Uncertainty; Technological Innovation; Ship Transportation; Product Design; Technology Adoption; Failure; Business and Government Relations; Product Development; Sweden;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Richard Mason. "Fate of the Vasa, The." Harvard Business School Case 605-026, August 2004. (Revised June 2005.) View Details
  32. D-Wave: An Interview with Seth Lloyd, Professor of Quantum Mechanical Engineering at MIT

    Keywords: Engineering;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "D-Wave: An Interview with Seth Lloyd, Professor of Quantum Mechanical Engineering at MIT." Harvard Business School Video Supplement 605-702, December 2004. View Details
  33. Microsoft.NET (Abridged)

    Set in the summer of 2000, following the unveiling of Microsoft's .NET initiative to the public. Three of the key figures in .NET's development are considering the next steps they would have to take to keep the initiative moving forward. Specifically, the challenges they face include the retirement of a key executive sponsor and the need to make major changes across many of Microsoft's core products. The protagonists must come up with a process and an organizational structure to keep the initiative moving forward.

    Keywords: Transformation; Leadership; Management Skills; Organizational Structure; Technology Platform;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Kerry Herman. "Microsoft.NET (Abridged)." Harvard Business School Case 605-025, August 2004. View Details
  34. D-Wave Systems: Building a Quantum Computer

    D-Wave Systems is a start-up seeking to commercialize a quantum computer. Its business model is unique: as of 2003, it had very few technical resources within the firm. Instead, it financed a series of projects undertaken at universities and government labs. In return for partial funding, these organizations gave D-Wave the ownership of--or exclusive rights to--intellectual property developed in the project. Geordie Rose, CEO of D-Wave, wonders how long this model is appropriate in contrast to the alternative of centralizing the research in an in-house facility, with all the costs this would incur.

    Keywords: Business Model; Business Startups; Engineering; Investment; Intellectual Property; Product Development; Research and Development; Commercialization; Computer Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., Ajay Agrawal, and Rebecca Henderson. "D-Wave Systems: Building a Quantum Computer." Harvard Business School Case 604-073, April 2004. View Details
  35. Dragon's Teeth Vineyards

    Dragon's Teeth Vineyards (DTV) is a South African wine producer that is considering whether to use genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in its wine-making process. GMOs promise to lower the costs of wine production significantly through increased yields and reduced processing times as well as significantly improve the quality of the final product via the use of GM yeasts in fermentation. However, the market acceptance of GMOs is unclear, due to perceived health risks and reactions from traditional "old world" producers who believe the beauty of wine lies in its craft, dependence on local soil and climate, and inherent variability.

    Keywords: Technological Innovation; Growth and Development Strategy; Genetics; Transition; Brands and Branding; Product Development; Product Design; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Technology Adoption; Food and Beverage Industry; Biotechnology Industry; South Africa;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., Marius Leibold, Sven Voelpel, and Kerry Herman. "Dragon's Teeth Vineyards." Harvard Business School Case 604-069, December 2003. (Revised April 2004.) View Details
  36. Mission to Mars (A)

    This case is set in spring 2000, several months after two successive, failed missions to the planet Mars. Students are asked to evaluate the reasons for these failures in the context of NASA's "Faster, Better, Cheaper" program, which was initiated in 1992. They are also faced with the task of reconstructing a program for the exploration of Mars that considers the many uncertainties--political, financial, outcome related, and scientific--that can impact the program. Includes color exhibits.

    Keywords: Failure; Change Management; Innovation Strategy; Science; Projects; Risk Management; Risk and Uncertainty; Aerospace Industry; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Jay Wynn. "Mission to Mars (A)." Harvard Business School Case 603-083, February 2003. (Revised January 2004.) View Details
  37. Mission to Mars (B)

    Supplements the (A) case.

    Keywords: Aerospace Industry; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Mission to Mars (B)." Harvard Business School Case 603-110, February 2003. (Revised January 2004.) View Details
  38. Tyrell Web Developers, Inc. (A) and (B) (TN)

    Teaching Note for (9-600-025) and (9-600-026).

    Keywords: Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Andrew P. McAfee. "Tyrell Web Developers, Inc. (A) and (B) (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 603-037, December 2002. View Details
  39. Le Petit Chef

    Brigitte Gagne, Le Petit Chef's director of microwave R&D, is deciding on the product development agenda for next year. She has to decide which of the available projects to fund, and evaluate the overall portfolio of projects currently under development. The recent poor performance of the firm prompts Gagne to think about reassessing the way projects are generated, evaluated, and selected at Le Petit Chef. However, Gagne has a pressing deadline to meet—the executive team is due to review the next year's agenda at a meeting in Paris tomorrow.

    Keywords: Production; Product Development; Projects; Planning; Research and Development; Performance; Problems and Challenges; Management Teams; Resource Allocation;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., Sandra J. Sucher, and Suraj Rangashayi. "Le Petit Chef." Harvard Business School Case 602-080, October 2001. (Revised November 2002.) View Details
  40. Le Petit Chef TN

    Teaching Note for (9-602-080).

    Keywords: Paris;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Sandra J. Sucher. "Le Petit Chef TN." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 602-117, January 2002. (Revised November 2002.) View Details
  41. Siemens ShareNet: Building a Knowledge Network

    Describes the development of ShareNet, an innovative knowledge management system used by a division of Siemens. ShareNet attempts to capture the knowledge and experience of Siemen's many dispersed sales and marketing units around the globe, making it available to all. ShareNet has to date been funded as a corporate initiative, free to all who use it. But as the telecommunications market has collapsed, the group that runs it is under increasing pressure to cut costs. As a result, it is considering charging users who subscribe to the tool in the belief that these users will willingly pay for it. This relies, however, on being able to demonstrate that the tool/system has a positive return on investment--a notoriously difficult task.

    Keywords: Cost Management; Investment Return; Revenue; Knowledge Acquisition; Knowledge Management; Sales;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., Sven Volpel, and Kerry Herman. "Siemens ShareNet: Building a Knowledge Network." Harvard Business School Case 603-036, November 2002. View Details
  42. Microsoft.NET

    Set in the summer of 2000, following the unveiling of Microsoft's .NET initiative to the public. Three of the key figures in .NET's development are considering the next steps they would have to take to keep the initiative moving forward. Specifically, the challenges they face include the retirement of a key executive sponsor and the need to make major changes across many of Microsoft's core products. The protagonists must come up with a process and an organizational structure to keep the initiative moving forward.

    Keywords: Software; Growth and Development Strategy; Change Management; Talent and Talent Management; Policy; Business Model; Computer Industry; Web Services Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Kerry Herman. "Microsoft.NET." Harvard Business School Case 602-086, March 2002. (Revised August 2002.) View Details
  43. Space Data Corporation Case Study -- Marketing Video

    Designed for use with Space Data Corp.

    Keywords: Technology Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Space Data Corporation Case Study -- Marketing Video." Harvard Business School Video Supplement 602-803, April 2002. View Details
  44. Dialpad Communications (B)

    Supplements the (A) case.

    Keywords: Telecommunications Industry; California;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Kerry Herman. "Dialpad Communications (B)." Harvard Business School Case 601-107, February 2001. (Revised April 2002.) View Details
  45. Managing Technology Ventures - Module Teaching Note (TN)

    Describes the conceptual foundations for a module on venture design, which forms part of an MBA course called Managing Technology Ventures. The objective of the course is to teach students how to think critically about the design of a technology venture, using cases that span a spectrum of different technological contexts. The premise for the course is that many technology ventures fail, not because they are based on bad ideas per se (although many are) but because they are poorly designed and executed. This module develops a number of concepts underlying a more evolutionary approach to venture design, geared to overcoming the fact that technology ventures typically face great uncertainty with respect to the opportunities they face.

    Keywords: Business Education; Business or Company Management; Organizational Design; Risk and Uncertainty; Opportunities; Technology;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Managing Technology Ventures - Module Teaching Note (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 602-139, April 2002. View Details
  46. Space Data Corporation

    Space Data Corp. plans to partner with the U.S. National Weather Service to place transceivers on weather balloons and thereby create a national mobile communications network. The company is in the late development stages and is planning to launch a regional test that will demonstrate its ability to provide paging and messaging. It intends to sell its service to existing mobile carriers, such as Skytel and Verizon, rather than directly to end users. This case illustrates how Space Data has applied flexible business processes throughout its initial market research and technology development to create a system that can make optimal use of its limited resources and respond rapidly to changing conditions. As the case concludes, the executive team at Space Data faces three opportunities, each with very different costs and benefits for the company. It can proceed with a regional test of paging and messaging as planned, leap forward to develop a more complex but potentially more lucrative voice service (forgoing a regional test), or make a transition to the small but financially stable telemetry market. Includes color exhibits.

    Keywords: Wireless Technology; Business Startups; Business Processes; Adaptation; Partners and Partnerships; Opportunities; Telecommunications Industry; Public Administration Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Jay Wynn. "Space Data Corporation." Harvard Business School Case 602-121, January 2002. (Revised April 2002.) View Details
  47. A Note on Organizational Design at Yahoo! TN

    Teaching Note for (9-602-112). Includes color exhibits.

    Keywords: Organizational Design; Web Services Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "A Note on Organizational Design at Yahoo! TN." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 602-151, April 2002. (Revised April 2002.) View Details
  48. Red Hat and the Linux Revolution

    The case describes the history of the Linux operating system and the open-source movement in general. Focuses on a critical decision being made by Red Hat, the largest distributor of Linux, about its future development efforts. The decision allows students to explore alternative approaches to software development and examine the dramatic success of the open-source method.

    Keywords: Open Source Distribution; Software; Product Development; Change Management; Research and Development; Business Processes; Disruptive Innovation; Information Technology Industry; North Carolina;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Kerry Herman. "Red Hat and the Linux Revolution." Harvard Business School Case 600-009, November 1999. (Revised March 2002.) View Details
  49. Socrates, Inc.

    Socrates, Inc., a provider of e-learning tools and technologies to educational institutions and, potentially, corporations, must decide which of several opportunities to pursue next and which priorities to focus on in terms of better structuring the firm's processes and structures.

    Keywords: Business Plan; Business Startups; Internet; Opportunities; Business Processes; Organizational Structure; Decision Choices and Conditions; Organizational Design; Education Industry; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Kerry Herman. "Socrates, Inc." Harvard Business School Exercise 602-115, January 2002. View Details
  50. Rise and Fall of Iridium, The

    Examines the history of Iridium Communications, a provider of mobile satellite services. Discusses the genesis of Iridium's technical design, then follows the venture through various stages of development. Describes Iridium's attempts to build a subscriber base after the launch of commercial service, ending with the company's filing for Chapter 11 in 1999.

    Keywords: Technology; Business Model; Business Growth and Maturation; Organizational Structure; Mobile Technology; Telecommunications Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Kerry Herman. "Rise and Fall of Iridium, The." Harvard Business School Case 601-040, December 2000. (Revised November 2001.) View Details
  51. A Note on Organizational Design at Yahoo!

    Supplements Yahoo! Business on Internet Time.

    Keywords: Organizational Design; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "A Note on Organizational Design at Yahoo!" Harvard Business School Supplement 602-112, November 2001. View Details
  52. AvantGo

    Richard Owen, CEO of AvantGo, is preparing for a meeting in which he will set the human resource policy for the firm going forward. It has been three months since the company's IPO, and given the tremendous cramp in hiring over the six months prior to the IPO, he knows that this meeting will set the expectations for the many annual evaluations that will follow. Uppermost in his mind is the decision on whether to implement a "forced-curve" grading scheme, and the implications of this decision on staff perceptions and notification.

    Keywords: Initial Public Offering; Management Teams; Selection and Staffing; Retention; Growth and Development Strategy; Performance Evaluation; Technology; Decisions; Information Technology Industry; Service Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Kerry Herman. "AvantGo." Harvard Business School Case 601-095, April 2001. (Revised November 2001.) View Details
  53. Virgin.com

    Describes the evolution of Virgin's dot-com organization and the decision it faced in mid-2000--whether to consolidate several separate dot-com ventures into one larger venture or, instead, to allow each to run independently. Also contains a history of Virgin's development so that students can examine the implications for Virgin's core businesses of moving online.

    Keywords: Organizational Design; Organizational Structure; Motivation and Incentives; Online Technology; Consolidation;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Kerry Herman. "Virgin.com." Harvard Business School Case 601-041, March 2001. (Revised August 2001.) View Details
  54. Dialpad Communications (A)

    Describes the evolution of Dialpad, a voice-over-Internet-protocol telephony company. Set in September 2000, CEO Brad Garlinghouse faces a dilemma: what to do about the large number of international users who use Dialpad to call the United States for free. He must also continue to develop Dialpad in the face of strong competition and a negative investment environment.

    Keywords: Corporate Entrepreneurship; Business or Company Management; Organizational Design; Competitive Strategy; Investment; Wireless Technology; Internet; Venture Capital; Telecommunications Industry; California;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Kerry Herman. "Dialpad Communications (A)." Harvard Business School Case 601-090, February 2001. (Revised August 2001.) View Details
  55. WholesalerDirect

    Describes the development of WholesalerDirect, a B2B electronic commerce venture in the plumbing, heating, cooling, and piping industry. Adam Berger, the CEO, is trying to raise funding to roll out the company's e-commerce platform to the industry's more than 3,000 wholesalers. But amid the sinking stock market, no one is ready to commit funds. WholesalerDirect has valuable assets and a solid idea, but how can it communicate these attributes to potential investors?

    Keywords: Online Technology; Valuation; Business Plan; Financing and Loans; Financial Strategy;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Kerry Herman. "WholesalerDirect." Harvard Business School Case 601-067, February 2001. (Revised August 2001.) View Details
  56. eFrenzy, Inc. (C)

    Supplements the (A) case.

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Kerry Herman. "eFrenzy, Inc. (C)." Harvard Business School Case 601-168, April 2001. View Details
  57. eFrenzy, Inc. (B)

    Supplements the (A) case.

    Keywords: Information Technology Industry; Service Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Kerry Herman. "eFrenzy, Inc. (B)." Harvard Business School Case 601-167, April 2001. View Details
  58. Microsoft Office 2000

    Presents interviews with Microsoft Office employees.

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D. "Microsoft Office 2000." Harvard Business School Video Supplement 600-502, June 2000. (Revised December 2000.) View Details
  59. Tyrell Web Developers Inc. (A)

    An integrated exercise culminating in a team project to design and develop a Web site for a fictitious company. Allows instructors to establish a technical baseline for students prior to starting the team project. Students are asked to develop a personal web site which incorporates specific types of content (e.g., HTML links, graphics, mail-to function). Insight is gained into specific practices which can improve development performance, as well as criteria for assessing what consitutes good web site design. Intended to be accompanied by formal training in web page design using a standard authoring tool such as Microsoft Frontpage.

    Keywords: Web Sites; Software; Product Development; Design; Internet;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Andrew P. McAfee. "Tyrell Web Developers Inc. (A)." Harvard Business School Exercise 600-025, May 2000. (Revised September 2000.) View Details
  60. Microsoft Office 2000: Multimedia

    Describes the history of Microsoft's Office product suite. Discusses evolution of the Office 2000 project. Set at the end of the project when Steven Sinofsky, Office vice president, must decide upon the direction for the next version of Office, as well as make changes to the process.

    Keywords: Software; Product Development; Innovation and Invention; Change; Information Technology Industry; Washington (state, US);

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Kerry Herman. "Microsoft Office 2000: Multimedia." Harvard Business School Video Case 600-023, March 2000. (Revised June 2000.) View Details
  61. Microsoft Office 2000

    Describes the history of Microsoft's Office product suite. Discusses evolution of the Office 2000 project. Set at the end of the project when Steven Sinofsky, Office vice president, must decide upon the direction for the next version of Office, as well as make changes to the process. This case is also available in multimedia format on a CD-ROM, order # 9-600-023. Must be used in conjunction with video # 9-600-502.

    Keywords: Software; Product Development; Risk and Uncertainty; Change; Innovation and Management; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Kerry Herman. "Microsoft Office 2000." Harvard Business School Case 600-097, June 2000. (Revised June 2000.) View Details
  62. Tyrell Web Developers Inc. (B)

    An integrated exercise culminating in a team project to design and develop a Web site for a fictitious company. Puts students in the position of designing a Web site for a demanding client (a local pizza company). Students are given a (purposefully) brief description of what the site must accomplish and are told that the site must be complete within a week. During this week, they have the opportunity to submit early "beta" versions of the web site to gain feedback from other teams. Insight is gained into specific practices which can improve development performance, as well as criteria for assessing what consitutes good Web site design.

    Keywords: Web Sites; Software; Product Development; Design; Internet;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan D., and Andrew P. McAfee. "Tyrell Web Developers Inc. (B)." Harvard Business School Exercise 600-026, May 2000. View Details
  63. Living on Internet Time: Product Development at Netscape, Yahoo!, NetDynamics, and Microsoft

    Describes how four companies in the Internet software market approach product development. Drawing upon short case studies of three recent projects, students are invited to synthesize the common attributes of development practice in turbulent environments.

    Keywords: Product Development; Internet; Software; Situation or Environment; Volatility; Risk and Uncertainty; Research and Development; Information Technology Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Alan D. MacCormack. "Living on Internet Time: Product Development at Netscape, Yahoo!, NetDynamics, and Microsoft." Harvard Business School Case 697-052, November 1996. (Revised June 1999.) View Details
  64. Team New Zealand (A), (B), and (C) TN

    Teaching Note for (9-697-040), (9-697-041), and (9-697-042).

    Keywords: Sports Industry; Transportation Industry; New Zealand; United States;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Alan D. MacCormack. "Team New Zealand (A), (B), and (C) TN." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 697-112, June 1997. View Details
  65. Team New Zealand (A)

    The case describes the development process used by Team New Zealand to design their two yachts for the 1995 America's Cup. During development, the team makes extensive use of simulation and physical prototyping to improve the initial design concept. As they approach construction, they must decide whether to build both boats at the same time and, if so, whether to vary their designs. The decision hinges on evaluating the benefits of different experimentation strategies. Includes color exhibits.

    Keywords: Product Design; Design; Product Development; Sports; Ship Transportation; Research and Development; Situation or Environment; Decisions; Sports Industry; New Zealand;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Alan D. MacCormack. "Team New Zealand (A)." Harvard Business School Case 697-040, October 1996. (Revised April 1997.) View Details
  66. Team New Zealand (B)

    Keywords: New Zealand;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Alan D. MacCormack. "Team New Zealand (B)." Harvard Business School Case 697-041, October 1996. (Revised April 1997.) View Details
  67. Team New Zealand (C)

    Supplements the (A) and (B) cases.

    Keywords: Sports Industry; Transportation Industry; New Zealand; United States;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Alan D. MacCormack. "Team New Zealand (C)." Harvard Business School Case 697-042, October 1996. (Revised April 1997.) View Details
  68. Silicon Graphics, Inc. (B)

    After the release of the "Challenge" computer in 1993, Silicon Graphics executives meet to discuss the follow-up project. Should they pursue an incremental improvement to the Challenge, or opt for a radically new design recently demonstrated at Stanford University?

    Keywords: Decisions; Technological Innovation; Management Practices and Processes; Product Development; Hardware; Computer Industry;

    Citation:

    Iansiti, Marco, and Alan D. MacCormack. "Silicon Graphics, Inc. (B)." Harvard Business School Case 697-038, September 1996. View Details

Presentations

  1. Exploring the Links Between Product and Organizational Architectures: An Empirical Study of Open and Closed Source Software

    Keywords: Product Design; Organizational Structure; Software;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "Exploring the Links Between Product and Organizational Architectures: An Empirical Study of Open and Closed Source Software." Paper presented at the International Product Development Management Conference, Milan, Italy, June 11–13, 2006. View Details
  2. Exploring the Relationship between Product Architecture and Organizational Form: A Test of "Conway's Law"

    Keywords: Product Design; Organizational Structure; Relationships;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. Exploring the Relationship between Product Architecture and Organizational Form: A Test of "Conway's Law". In Empirical Studies of Software Development (Session Chair). Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Production and Operations Management Society, Boston, MA, April 28–May 1, 2006. View Details
  3. Exploring the Architecture of Complex Software Products

    Keywords: Product Design; Software; Complexity;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "Exploring the Architecture of Complex Software Products." In Design Structure Matrix Applications. Paper presented at the INFORMS Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, November 5–8, 2005. View Details
  4. Exploring the Structure of Complex Software Designs: An Empirical Study of Open Source and Proprietary Code

    Keywords: Software; Product Design; Complexity;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "Exploring the Structure of Complex Software Designs: An Empirical Study of Open Source and Proprietary Code." Paper presented at the Wharton Technology Conference, Philadelphia, PA, April 01–04, 2005. View Details
  5. Managing Innovation and Product Development...Under Uncertainty

    Keywords: Innovation and Invention; Product Development; Management;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "Managing Innovation and Product Development...Under Uncertainty." Paper presented at the Decision Sciences Institute Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, November 19–22, 2004. View Details
  6. Empirical Research in Software Deveopment: Lessons from the Field

    Keywords: Research; Software; Product Development;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "Empirical Research in Software Deveopment: Lessons from the Field." In Empirical Research in New Product Development. Paper presented at the INFORMS Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, October 24–27, 2004. View Details
  7. Achieving Flexibility in NPD: New Processes and New Ways of Organizing

    Keywords: Product Development; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Management Practices and Processes;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "Achieving Flexibility in NPD: New Processes and New Ways of Organizing." In Better, Faster Innovation: Leading the Flexible Organization Conference. Paper presented at the Better, Faster Innovation : Leading the Flexible Enterprise, Boston, August 01, 2004. View Details
  8. Flexibility in New Product Development: Evidence, Insights and Obstacles from the Field

    Keywords: Product Development; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Problems and Challenges;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "Flexibility in New Product Development: Evidence, Insights and Obstacles from the Field." In Annual Metrics for Portfolio and Resource Management Conference. , Chicago, IL, October 01, 2003. View Details
  9. Agile Software Development: Evidence from the Field

    Keywords: Software; Product Development;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "Agile Software Development: Evidence from the Field." Paper presented at the Agile Development Conference, Salt Lake City, UT, June 25–28, 2003. View Details
  10. Conference Organizer, Session Chair

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "Conference Organizer, Session Chair." Paper presented at the HBS-MIT Sloan Free/Open Source Software Conference, Boston, MA, June 19–20, 2003. View Details
  11. Intellectual Property, Architecture, and the Management of Technological Transitions: Evidence from Microsoft Corporation

    Keywords: Intellectual Property; Management; Technology; Design; Computer Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, and Marco Iansiti. "Intellectual Property, Architecture, and the Management of Technological Transitions: Evidence from Microsoft Corporation." Paper presented at the Global Acquisition, Protection, and Leveraging of Technological Competencies, Katz Graduate School of Business, October 01, 2002. View Details
  12. To Beta or Not to Beta?: The Pedagogy and Execution of a Web-based New Product Development Exercise

    Keywords: Product Development; Online Technology; Web;

    Citation:

    McAfee, Andrew, and Alan MacCormack. "To Beta or Not to Beta?: The Pedagogy and Execution of a Web-based New Product Development Exercise." Paper presented at the Production and Operations Management Society Annual Conference, San Francisco, April 01, 2002. View Details
  13. Developing Products on Internet Time: Managing Innovation in Turbulent Environments

    Keywords: Product Development; Web; Online Technology; Innovation and Invention; Management;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "Developing Products on Internet Time: Managing Innovation in Turbulent Environments." Paper presented at the European Doctoral Summer School on Technology Management, Como, Italy, August 26–30, 2001. View Details
  14. Managing the Sources of Uncertainty: Matching Process and Context in New Product Development

    Keywords: Product Development; Risk Management;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, and Roberto Verganti. "Managing the Sources of Uncertainty: Matching Process and Context in New Product Development." Paper presented at the International Product Development Management Conference, Belgium, May 05, 2000. View Details
  15. Running Product Development at Internet Speed

    Keywords: Product Development;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "Running Product Development at Internet Speed." Paper presented at the Product Development and Management Association Annual Global Conference, FL, October 10, 1999. View Details
  16. A Comparative Study of Product Development Process Design

    Keywords: Product Development; Production; Design;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "A Comparative Study of Product Development Process Design." Paper presented at the INFORMS Annual Meeting, Cincinnati, OH, May 5, 1999. View Details
  17. Rapid Learning and Adaptation in Product Development: An Empirical Study of the Internet Software Industry

    Keywords: Learning; Product Development; Software; Computer Industry; Information Technology Industry; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, M. Iansiti, and R Verganti. "Rapid Learning and Adaptation in Product Development: An Empirical Study of the Internet Software Industry." Paper presented at the International Product Development Management Conference, Italy, May 01, 1998. View Details
  18. Responding to Changing Customer Needs: The Design of a Flexible Development Process

    Keywords: Customer Satisfaction; Design; Production;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "Responding to Changing Customer Needs: The Design of a Flexible Development Process." Paper presented at the INFORMS Annual Meeting, Montreal, April 4, 1998. View Details
  19. Managing Product Development in Rapidly Changing Environments

    Keywords: Product Development; Management; Change;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "Managing Product Development in Rapidly Changing Environments." Paper presented at the INFORMS Annual Meeting, October 10, 1997. View Details
  20. Developing Products on Internet Time

    Keywords: Product Development;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan David. "Developing Products on Internet Time." Paper presented at the INFORMS Annual Meeting, Dallas, October 10, 1997. View Details
  21. Product Development Flexibility

    Keywords: Product Development;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan David, and M. Iansiti. "Product Development Flexibility." Paper presented at the International Product Development Management Conference, Stockholm, Sweden, May 01, 1997. View Details

Other Publications and Materials

  1. Evaluating Total Cost of Ownership for Software Platforms: Comparing Apples, Oranges, and Cucumbers

    Keywords: Technology Platform; Cost; Ownership;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "Evaluating Total Cost of Ownership for Software Platforms: Comparing Apples, Oranges, and Cucumbers." AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies Related Publication, April 2003. View Details
  2. The Secret of How Microsoft Stays on Top

    Keywords: Business Strategy; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan, and Marco Iansiti. "The Secret of How Microsoft Stays on Top." HBS Working Knowledge, December 2002. View Details
  3. Mission to Mars: It Really Is Rocket Science

    Keywords: Aerospace Industry;

    Citation:

    MacCormack, Alan. "Mission to Mars: It Really Is Rocket Science." HBS Working Knowledge, March 2001. View Details

    Research Summary

  1. Managing Product Development in Rapidly Changing Environments

    A consistent finding in many studies of innovation is the repeated failure of established firms when faced with radical changes in their core markets or technologies. Professor MacCormack's research takes the view that many of these failures can be attributed to the design of the new product development process within these firms, and specifically, a process which can deal effectively with radical change. His work explores how successful firms manage the product development process in environments like internet software and computer workstations, industries in which rapidly changing technologies and customer needs are a fact of life. MacCormack's results suggest that in these types of environment, a more "adaptive" approach to developing products is required, based upon the ability to respond to new information throughout a development cycle. His work identifies the underlying mechanisms through which such an approach can be built. At a broader level, MacCormack's research begins to explore the elements of a contingent view of product development process design. With such a view, the concept of product development "best practice" is no longer as relevant. Instead, the process that is most appropriate for a given project must be designed to reflect the realities of the environment which that project faces. The challenge for researchers is therefore to identify the mediating factors which dictate the fit between environment and process. MacCormack's current work focuses on exploring these relationships in greater depth.

      Awards & Honors

    1. Maurice Holland Award : Winner of the 2013 Maurice Holland Award from the Industrial Research Institute for his paper with Alan W. Crandall, P. Toft, and P. Henderson, "Do You Need a New Product-Development Strategy?" (Research Technology Management, 2012).

    2. Robert F. Greenhill Award: Received the 2013 Greenhill Award for Outstanding Service to the HBS Community.

    3. Harvard Business School, Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching: Received the Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching in 2011 for his role in designing the new first-year FIELD (Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development) course.

    4. Academy of Management. Technology and Innovation Management Division. Best Paper Award: Finalist for the Best Paper Award from the Technology and Innovation Management Division of the Academy of Management for the paper “The Architecture of Complex Systems: Do Core-Periphery Structures Dominate?” (2010).

    5. Siemens Corporate Research Grant, $80k : Received a Siemens Corporate Research Grant ($80k) in 2010 for exploring the impact of software design choices on the level of defects and productivity in software projects.

    6. MIT Sloan School of Management: Outstanding Teacher Award: Won the Outstanding Teacher Award at MIT Sloan School of Management in 2009.

    7. IEEE Software. 25th Anniversary Top Picks for Peer-Reviewed Articles: In 2009, Software's editorial and advisory boards selected his 2003 article “Software Development Worldwide: The State of the Practice” (with Michael Cusumano, Chris Kemerer, and Bill Crandall) as one of the magazine's all-time best peer-reviewed articles.

    8. IBM Corporate Research Gift : Received an IBM Corporate Research Gift in 2010.

    9. Siemens Corporate Research Grant: Received a Siemens Corporate Research Grant in 2009.

    10. Seed Fund Program : Received a grant from the MIT Energy Initiative Seed Fund Program in 2009.

    11. NSF Software and Hardware Foundation Grant: Received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Software and Hardware Foundation Grant in 2008.