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Abstract

After a steady rise in the revenue that they achieved in the late 1990s, small software firms, in particular, were hit hard. Because of the restricted investments and tight budgets, the goals of firm strategies started shifting towards delivering outstanding products in terms of price, quality and performance. However, the focus of current information systems (IS) development methods is on improving processes to produce better and more predictable results, and, therefore, they tend to lack responsiveness to market opportunities. In this study, we review the marketing-related discussion of new product development (NPD), and suggest that the NPD framework offers valuable insights for the development of mobile software products. The NPD framework especially contributes to interactions with other business dimensions and the firm’s environment. In an interpretive case study of two mobile software firms, we apply both the NPD approach and the IS development methods as a lenses to identify the participants involved in the development of software products, and how the information was communicated between them throughout the phases of software product development. In the two firms, the applied framework uncovered the communication flows between the participants of software product development and integrated the interaction between them into a coherent view. In particular, the findings indicate the importance of informal, tacit communication as a basis for these interactions. As a result of this study, a preliminary conceptual model is presented describing the integration of the NPD approach with the IS development methods through cross-functional teams and rich communication in the development of software products. As a contribution, we suggest that the integration of the marketing-related NPD framework with the IS development methods provides guidance for managers to develop successful mobile software products in the dynamic markets in which small software firms exist.

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