Prioritizing the many measures of success in outsourced design
Companies that develop new products increasingly outsource design, a trend that has prompted much concern but little prescription on how best to manage such projects. One challenge is the lack of understanding of what constitutes success in outsourced design. To provide clarity, this paper identifies academic and practical perspectives on success from the literature as well as our own interviews with design consultants and consulting clients, organizes the perspectives into a typology featuring seven distinct dimensions of success, and then prioritizes the key success measures using a survey of 194 additional practitioners. The results suggest that past research has generally focused on the wrong success measures, overstating the impact of problems during development and the relative importance of return on investment, and omitting key measures such as working relationship quality, project value, and client satisfaction. Not all success measures are well correlated; a project may do very well on some but poorly on others. While each measure has it merits, client satisfaction appears to be a promising summary measure.
Palm, William J. and D.E. Whitney. Prioritizing the many measures of success in outsourced design. Proceedings of the ASME 2013 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences, Portland, OR, August 2013.