Let’s talk about why Evaluating Your New Product Development Process will benefit Your Projects
When your new product development process is not organized efficiently, you will lose time and money along the way when developing new products.
For example, you are always going back and forth in adjusting product specifications, not meeting the quality standards you require or not being able to make your product technically feasible. If this is the case, you end up with a longer lead time and higher development costs in developing your new product. This will cost you money and loss of sales along the way. That’s why it’s so important to evaluate your new product development process so your projects can benefit from it.
Hurdles in your product development process
When you have a critical look on your complete product development process, from product idea through specification, development, manufacturing and launch, you probably can identify some hurdles. These hurdles can hamper your project’s progress, if this is true it’s worthwhile improving them.
How to tackle this?
Now, how are you going to do that? I have a few steps which you can take to look at your development process to identify where you can improve. First, you need to ask yourself the question: do I have a product development process defined in my business? And if the answer is no, then it’s good that you start implementing one.
If you already have a process, then the next step should be that you set up a project team to evaluate your development process. Based on the outcome you can define improvement actions.
When you start defining or evaluating your product development process, divide your product development into phases. This can be very simple to start with. It depends of course on your product type and on the industry, you’re working in.
Divide your new product development into phases
I’ll give you a guideline. Start with an Ideation Phase. In this phase, you’re going to define new product ideas and you evaluate these product ideas.
The next phase will be the Concept Phase where you’re going to develop the product concept. After this phase you move into Specification Phase, which leads into the Development Phase, then you move into the Manufacturing Phase, and finally you move into the Launch Phase.
When you have defined different phases in your new product development, you can use this structure to build your new product development process. This will make it easier for your team to know what you’re talking about and in which phase you are in in a project.
The second step is to check within every phase, what the output is in that phase.
Why Evaluating Your New Product Development Process will benefit Your Projects. What should you be doing? Should you be creating product samples? Should you be defining quality targets, or service requirements?
Why is this important? Because if you define your service requirements towards the end of the product development process when your product is already finished its development, it’s very costly if you need to adjust your product because serviceability seems to be off. That’s why you need to think about this and specify these requirements at the beginning of the process.
Meaning, in the specification phases when you’re specifying your product requirements you also specify your service requirements and your quality requirements.
Who is responsible for what and when?
For every phase in the new product development process, you’re going to evaluate what do we need to do now? And you also need to define a responsible persons for every deliverable.
If no one is responsible for a deliverable, it will not be done. This means you have to make someone accountable for it.
It’ll be much easier in the project team to check off all those deliverables if you can speak to the responsible person to ask for an update.
Defining the development process
Then as a third step, I would advise you to create a document explaining the new product development process. Have it approved by all the stakeholders and management in your business. Appoint one person who is responsible for the deployment of this process in your company.
Everybody needs to be aware of it and needs to understand all the details.
When you’ve evaluated your process and defined improvement actions or you’ve set up a development process from scratch, you have created the basis of an efficient process.
It’s now in your hands to improve your process to make it logical who needs to do what, when and how.
Your Project Planning based on this process as well
Base your project planning on this process as well. Defining standard product development templates for anyone to use will support creating clarity and overview.
For example, use the same template to make product requirements, to define the technical specs or to tackle your project briefing. Use the same template for your project planning, meeting minutes or project scope.
This makes it much easier for team members and stakeholders to understand the status of the project and what deliverables are expected.
If they would have to learn a new template every time, you create inefficiency as it’s taking too much time and energy to get used to.
These are the answers to the question Why Evaluating Your New Product Development Process will benefit Your Projects? These are the steps you can take to evaluate, improve, and implement your product development process.
If you like to read more on the Product Development Process, head over to the article on 7 Product Development Tips that bring Efficiency and Speed.
Or receive my free guide with 7 product development tips to kick-start your new product development