The Product Development Process (PDP)- Part 3

The Definition and Feasibility Phase (Con’t)
Steve Worm, 8/25/16

After the primary technical challenges have been identified, listed and described to the wider project team, the next important project milestone is to identify solutions for each of the primary technical challenges. If no viable solution for a particular technical challenge can be found, then adjust the project requirements in a way that viable solutions can be found.

Identify one or more solutions for the primary technical challenges. Once the primary technical challenges have been identified, the technical team members must then investigate each one in enough detail to determine whether viable solutions exist or can be conceived.

During this first phase of the project, it’s not necessary to determine the best solution to each of the primary technical challenges: that comes later. Rather, the goal is to confirm there is at least one viable solution for each challenge. In the event that a certain challenge is unsolvable and a significant alteration of the product requirements is required, it would be unwise to spend too much time on any one challenge before determining all are solvable. Read the rest of this entry »

The Product Development Process (PDP)- Part 2

Definition and Feasibility Phase

Steve Worm- 7/1/2016

Product development is primarily a process of making decisions. A relatively simple product may still involve tens, hundreds or thousands of interrelated decisions about product features, marketing strategy, technology, design details, manufacturing strategy, finance, human resource management and other business considerations.

The entire process requires that each decision is made quickly and, more importantly, made correctly for the product to be successful. The key decision points are identified and researched early in the project to obtain the information needed to draw the right conclusions and plan the best path. The development team assigns the actions to its members that have the expertise in each of the required fields and rely on their feedback to determine the appropriate course of action.

The development phases and steps may be combined with other activities or they may be eliminated altogether if they are not relevant to a particular project. A company may give the phases of their product development process (PDP) different names, combine tasks or separate steps in different ways depending upon the simplicity or complexity of a project.

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The Product Development Process (PDP)- Part 1

Steve Worm, 5/7/2014

Product development is similar to an expedition through an uncharted wilderness. An expedition requires a well explained description of the destination, a clearly articulated plan for how to get there and an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of each team member. Once an expedition is underway, there must be a leadership system that allows the various team experts to work together to evaluate risks and make decisions about the best course of action, possibly modifying the original plan based upon new information. Although Lewis and Clark may have eventually reached the Pacific if they had simply grabbed their guns and took off running in a westerly direction, their odds of success were greatly improved by approaching their challenge in a calculated, methodical manner. Similarly, the chances of successfully developing a new product or technology that meets the needs and desires of the marketplace are greatly improved if a methodical plan is followed.

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Contract Engineer versus Mechanical Engineering Firm

David Christopherson- 8/25/2010

Sometimes a company needs to augment its internal product development team with someone from outside of the organization. The initial thought may be to hire a contract engineer or contract designer through a contract employment agency. However, there is a better alternative: utilize the services of a dedicated mechanical engineering firm. Following are a few important factors to consider before making this important decision.

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