Key Criteria in Project Evaluation : A study of New Service Development
Project evaluation is concerned with indicators setting and performance tracking along the life of a project. It plays an essential role to the success of any project and therefore demands special attention. At the heart of this process lies a system of criteria one has to take into account when performing the evaluation. Our thesis considers this problem in a particular context, namely New Service Development (NSD) projects. The topic is of our interest because innovation (hence NSD) has become an inherent aspect of service industry while the research dedicated to NSD project evaluation is rather limited. Our thesis aims at understanding the purposes, the process of evaluating NSD projects and pointing out specific criteria included during the evaluation of NSD projects. As a result, the research question pursuing is: ‘What are key Evaluation Criteria for New Service Development projects?’ From the literature review on project evaluation and new service development, our study reveals a list of eight important criteria of evaluation. This consists of three financial criteria: (1) profitability, (2) production cost, (3) return on investment; and five non-financial criteria: (4) strategic fit, (5) marketing criteria, (6) corporate social responsibilities, (7) information quality, and (8) facilitating factors. From empirical perspective, qualitative approach is applied to collect data through three case studies and a series of semi-structured interviews with seventeen respondents in Albania, Italy, Sweden and Vietnam, from companies offering various types of service. The case studies build comprehensive understanding on the process of new service development, of project evaluation for NSD whereas interviews check the transferability of the three cases and identify evaluation criteria employed in practice. The empirical results were analyzed in comparison with the arguments found from literature. Regarding the research question, the study found that the set of evaluation criteria collected from empirical study fits with the list of eight criteria proposed by literature. Among this set, two main criteria ‘strategic fit’ (4) and ‘customer satisfaction’ which is apart of ‘marketing criteria’ (5) are recommended as ‘must’ for the evaluation process on any type of NSD project. Findings of this research contribute to the existing knowledge provided by both academic and practitioners regarding both project management field and new service development area, by suggesting a set of key criteria that should be used as guidance in order to succeed with evaluation of NSD projects.
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