The aim of this paper is to describe front-end activities in practice and get first hints for effects of the front end on project outcome and the meaning of contextual factors. The results of an exploratory study of fourteen product development projects are contrary to the wide-spread opinion that the quality of execution of front-end activities in practice is low. Although, due to the small sample size, our findings are limited, there seems to be an indirect impact of the fuzzy front end on project outcome: Front-end activities may reduce deviations during the following development phase. Furthermore, company size and the degree of newness of a project to a firm seem to have an influence on the fuzzy front end. Therefore, for future research, we suggest large-scale studies which examines direct and indirect effects and consider contextual factors, e.g., by evaluating structural equation models.
Fuzzy front end idea generation project selection project planning