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What are the Steps in the Product Development Process?

By Marco Sumayao
Updated Feb 24, 2024
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There are eight general steps in the product development process, although many organizations opt to add or remove some according to their preferences. The initial step is idea generation, which is widely considered to be the most crucial part of the process. Steps two and three are idea screening and concept development, in which the idea pool is streamlined and improved. Business analysis and testing, which examines the feasibility of the product are next. Technical implementation, commercialization, and re-pricing are steps six to eight, respectively; they deal with the industrial and marketing ends of new product development.

Many experts agree that idea generation is the very foundation on which product development is built and is often one of the most difficult points. In this step, developers take into consideration market demands, product research, and even business competitors to come up with a new idea for a product. Brainstorming sessions are extremely dynamic during this point and can yield anywhere from zero to dozens of business ideas.

The next step in the product development process, idea screening, allows developers to weed out mediocre ideas generated from brainstorming and keep extraordinary ones. A strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis is often implemented to aid in screening. Once an idea meets final approval, developers move on to the third step, concept development, and study ways to improve and build upon the conceptual product.

After streamlining the concepts into a concrete business idea, developers then proceed to business analysis. In this step, research and development teams examine the possible costs of manufacturing the product alongside its estimated marketability and profit-generation capabilities. This is often done alongside step five, testing, which involves trying out prototypes of the product both within the company and with projected target markets. Initial prices are usually determined at this point.

If the results of business analysis and testing are favorable, businesses can move on to technical implementation. In this step, the company gears itself towards manufacturing the final product, developing work systems and technologies to guarantee adequate output and management during production. Step seven, commercialization, follows soon afterward and involves launching the product to the public. The final step of the product development process, re-pricing, involves changing sale prices according to customer feedback and demand in order to maximize sales and profits.

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Discussion Comments
By sehiggins — On Jun 27, 2011

I personally think that technical implementation is the most important step in the product development process. I have been working at a manufacturing plant for quite some time. All too often, I see great ideas fall through the cracks because the manufacturing was poorly planned. It is actually kind of sad.

Companies should do a better job of making sure that new products are feasible to produce. Frequent testing and redesign are crucial when it comes to feasibility.

If a product cannot be produced, then it is up to the company to make some changes to their manufacturing process, if they really want to see the product fully developed. Often times, these changes can save the company a lot of money in the long run.

By Testy — On Jun 24, 2011

@Oski - I agree with you as well, however, on a different point. Colleges and universities should offer more classes that allow students to strengthen and flex their innovative muscles. If America wants to be the number one product developing nation that it once was, then we have to train our young people to be innovators and idea generators. After all, it is great ideas that help to change the world.

I would encourage you to find a student group on campus that allows you to stretch your imagination. If your school does not have such a group, then start one with a group of friends.

To the author: thanks for a great article. Keep up the good work.

By goldenbears — On Jun 23, 2011

@Oski - Your words are very mature for a college student. It is refreshing to see that the future is in the hands of such bright individuals as yourself. Good luck in your future endeavors, I know you will do well.

I couldn't agree with you more. Innovation is the most important step in the product development process. Thankfully, I work with a company that allows me and my colleagues to come up with the craziest ideas for new products almost every day.

My company is in the business of product development and innovation. Other companies come to our firm with a product idea, or even just a consumer need. Our job is to expand upon their idea and present back a prototype for their product in which they can implement into their manufacturing process.

If you love brainstorming and improving on old ideas, then working in product innovation is the right career choice for you. Every day, I get to go to work knowing that my creative juices will be flowing along with those of fifteen other individuals. It is amazing to see how much creativity goes into making even the simplest of consumer products.

It is very rewarding to see a product in a store and be able to say "Hey, I helped make that!"

By Oski — On Jun 21, 2011

Thank you so much for this article. It is very thorough and you do a good job of breaking down each step of the process so that it's easy to follow and understand. I especially like the fact that it really resembles the steps in product development that my professor lectured about in class. I am a business student, and I will most definitely be using this article as a resource to study for my next exam!

I agree with you, idea generation is the most important step of the entire process. I truly think that innovation is the key to a company's success. If your products are different and better than your closest competitor, then you will come out on top every time.

I wish that colleges and universities would encourage students to be more innovative. We need more classes directly dedicated to innovation. Most of the classes offered to us are theory based and give us little room to practice applying what we learned in our textbooks to real life situation. At least that's the culture of my college.

Again, thanks for the great read!

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