An investigation of the use of global, virtual, and colocated new product development teams
This paper presents the results of an investigation of differences between global, virtual and colocated new product development (NPD) teams. Specifically, we examined whether and how these three types of teams differed in terms of usage, challenges, and performance. A survey of PDMA members was undertaken to collect the data. Out of 103 firms participating in the survey, 54 had used or were using global teams for some of their NPD efforts. Overall, we found that the use of global teams in our respondent firms is rapidly increasing. Our respondents indicated that by the year 2001, approximately one out of every five NPD teams in their companies are likely to be global. However, our respondents also expect that their companies will be using multiple types of teams that is, global, virtual, and colocated, to develop their new products. Our findings also suggest that global teams generally face greater behavioral and project management challenges than either colocated or virtual teams. Global team performance is also lower than the performance of virtual or colocated teams. Are these challenges associated with poorer performance? In examining this question, our results suggest that greater project management challenges are associated with lower performance, for all three types of teams. Surprisingly, behavioral challenges were not associated with performance for any team type. Our results suggest that firms face different problems associated with managing each type of NPD team2014global, virtual and colocated. To effectively manage each type of team may, in turn, require that companies and their managers employ different solutions to these different problems. Additionally, companies may find that the preparation they provide to their managers and team members to work in these different team environments may also need to be different. Further research is clearly needed to address these managerial implications.