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Product development strategy can help you through the entire creation and manufacturing process and keep you on time and on track to meet your business’s goals and objectives. From concept to execution, a solid product development strategy can help keep your team focused, moving forward with the project and accountable for your team’s success and each team member’s responsibilities to the project. When selecting which project development strategies to use with your team members, keep your resources and goals in mind to determine, in the most effective way, which strategies should be implemented in each stage of the process.
One of the most crucial aspects of developing a successful new product will be your team’s ability to generate ideas and then decide on what product to make and accurately define it. Solidifying an idea, concept or description of what you are making by writing it down and putting it above your desk (we call this a product development brief) will help your team avoid losing their focus and spreading resources too thin working on other unnecessary features.
When you are coming up with a product development strategy, it is vital you know your target market. You should be able to answer these questions about your market:
*What is the target market for my product?
*What does my market need?
*What benefit does my product provide?
*Who are my products competitors?
*What is lacking in other existing products of this kind?
*What makes my product different from the others?
*How does my product fit in the market?
You may need to do market research such as surveys, focus groups or questioning your current database of customers to find the answers to these market research questions. Getting an answer to these important questions will help you narrow your focus and develop a product development strategy that can succeed because it is based on solid market research.
Putting your product through product screening will help your team eliminate unattractive, unwanted, poor or unsuited products before you invest the time and energy into making them. Many companies use a standardized new product checklist and Quality Function Deployment to evaluate the attractiveness of new products, eliminate unwanted features, add features or benefits, evaluate product / development risk and further fine-tune their product concept before going deep into the design details.
Without deadlines, projects are doomed to lag, fall behind schedule and suffer from a lack of urgency and priority. Avoid this by setting milestones for the various stages of product development. The time frames you set may depend in part on your product, but there are some commonalities among products that you can use as guidance. Milestones should be set for events such as:
*Product / market / customer research
*Concept development and testing
*Production design and engineering
*Product manufacturing launch date
*Major project phase design reviews to report on progress and challenges
Holding yourself and your team accountable to these deadlines will help keep you focused and your product development team moving forward. At Inertia we track our performance on how close we deliver to scheduled milestones. Our target is to achieve a minimum of 97% on-time-delivery – and we meet this. Deadlines give gravitas to projects and provide the impetus many teams need to avoid stagnating on projects and delaying your product launch.
Concept testing is a smart product development strategy step you can take to hedge your bets on a winning product. Concept testing involves showing a physical representation of your product to potential consumers to get their feedback and responses. This could be as simple as a cardboard mock-up or sample website interface. This information can be used to hone your product before a time intensive and expensive investment in manufacturing has been made. It is much easier and less costly to make revisions to a product before manufacturing a prototype and concept testing can help you see make changes the market will demand before you launch your product. A thorough product development strategy plan will also allow ample time for concept testing and enough time to implement changes the concept testing uncovered as crucial to success.
Another important product development strategy is knowing the numbers involved in your product. Developing a new product involves a variety of costs including design, prototype and testing cost projections, manufacturing costs, supply costs, labor costs, advertising costs and more. Projections about profitability and distribution costs should also be included in your business analysis and product development strategy to give you a total picture view of your financial investments and potential profit gains.
Understanding how to develop a comprehensive product development strategy plan can help you launch your product with confidence and success. For over ten years, Inertia has been helping companies develop products that far outlive their initial concept. If you are ready to take your product from the dream stage to the marketplace, let us help you plan and implement a product development strategy that will succeed. With expert engineers, a culture of commitment to excellence in craftsmanship and continuous improvement, Inertia Engineering will partner with you on a product development strategy and produce amazing results.
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