Do you recognize that feeling of being overwhelmed with all the activities that you need to do when working on your new product? That you wish you knew how to control your new product development? I surely can!
When I started more than 20 years ago as product manager for a large electronics company, I was overwhelmed with all the activities I was responsible for. I had to interact with many disciplines and deliver output at so many moments in the product development process, it was impossible to keep overview and track without some help.
From idea generation to mass production and even after, you as business owner knows every little detail of your new product. You get the questions and need to solve all kind of issues.
Luckily, the company I worked for at that time introduced a very clear and effective process which comprises all phases from idea generation to mass production and market introduction. This process was my saviour in busy, crazy times. And not only for me, but for all team members, structure and clarity is crucial to successful product development.
I can imagine that you fulfill multiple roles in your business and that your small team needs to take care of a lot of different things during your new product development. That’s why it is so important to create a clear overview for everyone what they need to do and when it needs to be finished.
Specially for you, I‘ve created a practical and efficient process. The secret is to divide your product development into different phases.
In this blogpost I want to explain in detail how you can control your new product development in a structured and efficient way.
We are going to divide your new product development process in 5 phases. In a structured way you’ll move from one phase to the next, so no jumping to the end and back again and doing activities premature, because they can cost you money in the end, if you need to do them all over again.
Phase 1: FUZZY IDEA COLLECTION
In the fuzzy idea phase, you’re going to capture your new product ideas into a long list. Stop using the famous yellow post-it notes for this. This is too messy and the chance that you’ll lose some of your great idea is big. I have a freebee to collect new product idea for you waiting on my website. After you listened to this episode you can head over to bureauflo.com/free tools to grab this freebee. I’ll also add the link in the show notes.
Now you have noted down a lot of new ideas and you need to choose one to start developing and making money with. For every business there will different factors why a new idea is profitable, technically feasible and customers are waiting for. So you need to decide what those factors are for your business and hold these against your new ideas.
When you have selected your new product idea you are going to move in the next phase.
Phase 2 PRODUCT CONCEPT CREATION
When you’ve selected your new product idea. You’re going to research this idea in more detail and create a product concept on a detailed level. Based on this concept you will be able to make a well thought out decision if your business will benefit from pursuing with this product. In this product concept phase, you will make sketches of you new product idea, you will write the customer requirements. With that I mean the wishes or requirements your customer has of your new product. What should the design of the product look like, what materials is it made of, what problem should it solve, how should this new product solve this problem.
Phase 3 PRODUCT REFINEMENT
During this phase you’ll work out your new product idea in more detail. You have checked your new product concept with some of your loyal customers, you analyzed what your competitors are doing, and you’ve done a price analysis. Based on this product refinement you will be able to judge if your new idea is commercially, technically and financially feasible.
When this is all worked out and you’re ready to commit to transforming your idea into a product your customers are thrilled about, you can move to the next phase.
Phase 4 PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
In this phase you’ll be starting all detailed activities that are needed to successfully develop and manufacture your product. You’ll define a project planning, translate the customer requirements into technical specifications for the manufacturer of your product, you’ll arrange the purchasing contracts, make logistic arrangements to get stock of your new product, define the quality target for your manufacturer and so much more!
When you’ve finished in this phase, you’ll start the last phase,
Phase 5 PRODUCT LAUNCH
When you have successfully defined, developed and manufactured your product, it is time for its spectacular market introduction. Your product has been mass produced and waiting for your customers to buy! You need to prepare all the activities that are needed to launch your new product to your customers. These activities already start in the beginning of your new product development and come back in every phase because you need to start preparing well in advance.
Also think about the need for sales samples or a customer training on how to use your product. You need have your communication plan ready well before you launch. So when you have product on stock, your customers are ready to buy from you.
Here you go, the first steps to take to keep control in your new product development.
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