NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
Why do you need a product development process? Quite simply it controls the costs and time taken to
develop a new product. More importantly, it helps your organisation to look on product development as
investment rather than risk. When you examine companies that succeed in product development (3M, Sony,
Black & Decker, Polaroid) they have one thing in common, the development is divided into a number of
stages. Because this article discusses products in their widest sense, covering not only hard products but
services as well, we have created an idealised set of stages that should be applicable no matter your industry
or the size of your project.
attacking problems? How do you capture and assess these ideas and distil them down to the ones that are
worth investing more time and effort in?
expected return? This requires a number of questions to be answered. What is the market potential? Is it
technically feasible? What are the timescales? How will it affect existing products? How will the competition
react? And so on. On this information, the decision to go ahead and invest will be made.
translation into some form of prototype or pilot service. The key is that perceived customer needs are
translated into a possible solution to these needs. In reality, the design or development of the product or
service will continue into subsequent stages as the product or service is refined to the point that is released
to the market.
so that the sales, customer, manufacturing and support organisations can test and modify the product. One
outcome of this stage could be that the concept was wrong, there is no market, and the product should stop
prior to committing to the expense of releasing it into the market.
correct sales channels, ramping up the volume of business and supporting the product.
Unfortunately, when this activity is not planned the need to develop new products is often triggered by
falling sales. At this point, there may not be enough time for new products to be developed.