NOVELTY, THE FIRST DIMENSION of our adaptive project management model (and the first base to be visited by managers), is determined by the nature of the project’s product—how new the product is to the market, the customers, and the potential users. Novelty represents the extent to which buyers and users are familiar with this kind of product—its benefits and the way they can use it. It indicates the level of uncertainty in the market, or external uncertainty, and it also reflects the project’s goal uncertainty—how well the end result or the project goal can be defined.

The classification we use is not new. For example, Wheelwright and Clark, in their extensive studies on new product development, used three categories of ...

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