Project management

7 product development tips that bring efficiency and speed

product development tips
I'm Marie-Louise!

In my 20 years of working as a product & project manager, I’ve got to know some great tools and gained valuable experience to efficiently develop products. I love to share my knowledge and these tools with you.

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Whether you’ve been developing products for some time or start your business from scratch, there are some actions you can take at the start of your new product development that bring efficiency and speed in your process.

You probably experienced it yourself or heard stories from others about new product development projects that costed a lot of money but were put on hold or completely stopped because the new product was going to be unsaleable or not profitable.

There are many factors that can cause projects to be put on hold. From specifications that cannot be met, product costs that are too high, difficulties in transferring the product concept into a working prototype, successfully moving into mass production, to end customers not buying your product.

By implementing some practical process steps, the above hurdles can be overcome, and your new product can be successfully developed, manufactured, and launched into the market.

If you feel you can make some improvements in your new product development or this topic is new to you, please continue reading this article. I hope you can benefit from the tips I share with you the same way I do. Before pouring tons of money in your new product idea, check out the tips below.

Tip 1: Product Idea Evaluation With Your Team

Before you start the development of a new product, make sure you have done thorough research on your product idea. This starts by a product idea evaluation with your team where you can score your new idea on various criteria.

For example, does the idea fit the company strategy and the existing product strategy? Do you already have a supplier that can manufacture your product or is your own factory capable to do so?

How difficult are the technical challenges and is your idea financially feasible?

Based on the above evaluation you know if you can take the next step in your new product development or that the idea needs more research or can be taken off from the list completely.

Tip 2: Perform Customer Research on Your Product Concept

When you and your team are aligned that the new product idea can be a winner, it’s time to verify your results with your customers by doing some market research. This can be done on a large scale, but also small focus groups can give you valuable feedback on your new product idea. When you have a product concept that you can share in your focus groups, it pays off to have them answer questions that help you better define the specifications of your new product and work out the product concept in more detail.

Tip 3: Request for a Product Cost Price and a quote for Development Costs

When you have worked out your product concept in more detail and all the specifications are fixed, it’s time to get the product costs and development costs on the table. Meaning, you need to start asking suppliers or your own factory for a quote. When you ask for a quote, there are 2 important topics to cover in the discussion with suppliers or your factory:

  1. Can all the specifications from technical point of view be realized? What are the development risks? When not all specifications can be realized, you need to ask yourself if the product will still be interesting to your customers and for what price. It’s better to stop now, instead of continuing and ending up with a product that does not sell.
  2. Can all the specifications be realized within your budget? If your product costs become too high, you run the risk that you need to ask a much higher price to your customers than you initially planned for. If they do not feel comfortable paying a high price for what they get, you’re missing the boat and all your investments will vaporize. That’s why it’s important to include more suppliers in your quotation process so you can choose the best one for your business.

Tip 4: Appoint A Project Manager To manage Your New Product Development Project

There are a lot of moving parts in new product development. It’s impossible to keep up with every action, setback, and discussion without someone managing this.

A project manager keeps everyone involved aligned, chases open actions, and guards the project planning and the project budget. He or she has a helicopter view and can proactively steer the project and team members to keep everything on track.

Tip 5: Create A Clear Project Briefing Right From The Start

By creating a project briefing at the beginning of your new product development, you bring clarity on your new product idea to everyone involved in the development. From your team members to your sales staff, supplier, communication expert and other agencies you work with. The scope of your project, needs to be clearly defined in your project briefing.

I have a free download ‘3-Step-Plan how to kick-start your Product Development’ that includes more details on creating a complete project briefing. If you like to know more, click the link below to register for the free download.

Yes! Send me the free download!

Tip 6: Implement A Weekly Core Project Team Meeting Structure Including Project Checklist And Action Plan.

By checking in on the status of your new product development on a weekly basis, you’re more in control because you’re on top of things and can quickly intervene when things are moving in the wrong direction.

  • Always make meeting minutes: define actions, allocate who is responsible and set a deadline. This prevents that everyone walks away from the meeting, continues with their daily tasks, and completely forgets the action points from your meeting.
  • Create a detailed project planning for your new idea and discuss this planning regularly in your core project team meeting. By making a detailed planning of all the activities needed from product idea, through definition, development, manufacturing, and introduction, you’ll be able to micromanage your project and be fully in control.
  • Create a separate project checklist of all the actions that need to be done to develop your new product idea. You’ll be able to tick these actions off when they are completed, and you and your team can focus on the remaining open points.

I have a free download ‘How to Professionalize your Product Development’ that includes more details on how to manage your new product development, provides you with a template to create a clear action list and project checklist.

If you like to know more, click the link below to register for the free download.

Yes! Send me the free download!

Tip 7: Implement a supplier selection process in your business

Before starting to develop your new product and investing time, effort and costs into it, one major decision is choosing your supplier. The right supplier brings you speed and efficiency, the wrong supplier causes headaches, loss of time and money.

Next to the cost price and development costs there are more factors that will make or break a smooth development process.

  1. Always check whether your supplier fulfills the standards and norms for your market, region, product category. Medical products, toys, consumer electronics, personal care products, all these industries have different production and product requirements. Verify what requirements your product needs, before signing a contract with a new supplier.
  2. Check whether your supplier can make swift changes to your product, product label and packaging label when you need urgent adaptions to be able to sell in a new region or country or when new (safety) requirements become effective.
  3. Ask for project management support at your supplier. Make sure you have someone appointed to your new project from your suppliers’ side. Someone who is responsible for all the actions that need to be done by your supplier. This makes communication easier and the implementation of corrective actions faster.

With the above 7 tips, you’ll be well prepared when developing new products for your business.

If you like to receive my free weekly product development tips directly in your inbox, please click the link below to sign-up.

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Hi, I'm Marie-Louise.

I help project managers and entrepreneurs become successful in managing
new product development projects.
And create space in their day so they work efficient and can manage their teams with confidence.

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 Help yourself with this free download to kickstart your new projects and feel confident and in control.

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If you encounter a challenge in your product development activities, please do not hesitate to contact me.