- Publisher: Journal of Product Innovation Management
- Available in: Online
- Published: 4. August 2017
Agile development methodologies have been widely employed in the software industry, where they have been found to yield positive results. But can these new methods, with their new tools such as sprints, scrums, burndown charts, and backlogs, really be integrated with the traditional and popular Stage-Gate approach and then applied to physical products?
Initial but limited evidence suggests yes: Larger IT firms have already integrated Agile and Stage-Gate and gained the benefits of both approaches; and most recently, a handful of manufacturing firms have employed this Agile–Stage-Gate hybrid model for physical new products. And if recent evidence can be trusted, this new approach promises to be the most significant change to our thinking about how new-product development should be done since the introduction of today’s popular gating systems 30 years ago.
The benefits of this hybrid model are a faster and more adaptive response to changing customer needs, better integration of voice-of-customer, better team communication, improved development productivity, and faster to market. A case example from a toy company, LEGO, is provided as an illustration. But there are negatives as well, and additionally, manufacturers must make modifications to Agile in order to adopt it successfully.
Although initial results appear promising, much research is needed to explore this new Agile–Stage-Gate hybrid model, and many research challenges remain.