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  • Writer's pictureTiffany Huang

How to Get Your Product Made: Process of Product Development

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

by Tiffany Huang

product design sketch

Bringing a new product to life can be challenging. You know that you have an idea that can bring value to a target market, but you aren’t exactly sure how to bring your product to that market.

Now let’s discuss the different stages involved in new product development.

What is product development process?

Product development refers to the complete process of taking a product to market. It also covers renewing an existing product and introducing an old product to a new market. This includes identifying market needs, conceptualizing the product, building the product roadmap, launching the product, and collecting feedback.

New product development (NPD) is a core part of product design. The process doesn’t end until the product life cycle is over. You can continue to collect user feedback and iterate on new versions by enhancing or adding new features.

new product development process

1. Idea Generation

The new product development process begins with idea generation, where you brainstorm an idea that will help you solve an existing customer problem in an innovative way. As you’re coming up with ideas that will help you solve customer needs, it’s important to have a robust understanding of your target market and the pain points they have that you want to solve.

Your initial idea generation stage can be as simple as saying “What if we did this?” and then they become more ROBUST during the research stage.

2. Research

Once you’ve developed a product idea, the next step is conducting research to FLESH IT OUT. There are various steps you can take to do this, like:

  • Market research to understand the current sentiment in your industry and if there are any holes that your product will fit into, and if there will even be demand for it.

  • Competitor analysis to understand if customers think there are things your competitors' products or services lack that you can incorporate into your product to better fit your target market's needs.

During this stage, you can also get early feedback from customers about what they think of your ideas before coming up with a final definition for your product. One of the best ways to get this feedback is through surveys, where you can easily and quickly collect information from existing customers.

This stage may include a bit of iteration because your research may tell you that you need to refine your original ideas and adjust your research scope before moving on to the next stage.

3. Planning

The third stage is planning, where you formulate a final product idea based on your initial idea and research and begin coming up with your plans to bring it to life. When you define your final product, you’ll want to begin planning for what you’ll need in order to create it. For example, if you’re creating a physical product, you’ll need to source the necessary materials or find production partners that will assist in manufacturing.

It’s also critical to identify the teams that will be involved in your product development process that will help bring it to market, from the marketing teams that will promote your product to any possible external partners that will assist with production.

4. Prototyping

The prototyping phase is when you come up with a sample product that is a mockup of what will be created during mass production. This prototype is often referred to as a minimum viable product (MVP), which is a basic version of your tool, still similar to your final product, that will help you get a sense of how it functions and identify any areas that need to be improved.

You may make multiple prototypes and go back and forth between this stage and the testing stage before you have a finalized prototype.

5. Sourcing

Once you have a product prototype you’re satisfied with, it's time to start gathering the materials and securing the partners needed for production. This is also referred to as building your supply chain: the vendors, activities, and resources needed to create a product and get it into a customer’s hands. During this stage of product development, project management is crucial.

While this phase will mainly involve finding manufacturers or suppliers, you may also factor storage, shipping, and warehousing into your choice.

6. Costing

After research, planning, prototyping, and sourcing are done, you should have a clearer picture of what it will cost to produce your product. Costing is a business analysis process where you take all information gathered thus far and add up what your cost of goods sold (COGS) will be so you can determine a retail price and gross margin.

Once you have your total COGS calculated, you can come up with a pricing strategy for your product and subtract the COGS from that price to get your potential gross margin, or profit, on each unit sold.

7. Commercialization

The final stage of your new product development process is commercialization, where you introduce your products to the market. This is the culmination of your brainstorming, research, and iteration, where your audiences can finally make use of what you created.

Although this is the final stage, many businesses launch their products and, over time, return to make improvements to their products based on customer feedback and market changes to ensure they’re always providing the best possible customer experience.

From Ideas To Reality

When you complete your new product development process, you’ll have brought your brainstorming ideas to fruition and created a real product or service that solves a customer need. If you find success, you’ll have created a valuable strategy to replicate that will help you continuously innovate and create new products, giving customers the delightful experiences they desire.

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