CHAPTER 2 – DEVELOPMENT PROCESSES AND ORGANIZATIONS
A generic Development Process: first, a process is a sequence of steps that transforms a set of inputs into a set of outputs such
as the process of baking a cake. On the other hand, A PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT PROCESS is the sequence of steps or
activities which an enterprise employs to conceive, design, and commercialize a product. Many of these steps and activities are
intellectual and organizational rather than physical. Every organization has its own process and it varies depending on the
organization. Some organizations define and follow a precise and detailed development process, while other may not even be
able to describe their process. A well defined development process is useful for the following reasons:
1. Quality assurance: A development process specifies the phases a development project will pass through and the
checkpoints along the way; thus, it assures completion of a specific phase
2. Coordination: a clearly articulated development process acts as a master plan which defines the roles of each of the
players on the development team. It helps the members be aware of the contribution needed.
3. Planning: a development process contains natural milestones corresponding to the completion of each phase. The
timing of these milestones anchors the schedule of the overall development project
4. Management: a development process is a benchmark for assessing the performance of an ongoing development effort.
By comparing the actual events to the established process, a manager can identify possible problem areas.
5. Improvement: The careful documentation of an organization development process often helps identify weaknesses
and opportunities for improvement
Generic product development process (See page 14 for graph explanation with examples): the conclusion of the product
development process is the product launch, at which time the product becomes available for purchase in the marketplace. The
six phases of generic product development process:
1. Planning (Phase 0): It is often referred to as “PHASE ZERO” since it precedes the project approval and launch of the
actual product development process. This phase begins with corporate strategy and includes assessment of technology
developments and market objectives. The output of the planning phase is the project mission statement, which specifies
the target market for the product, business goals, key assumptions, and constraints.
2. Concept Development: in this phase, the needs of the target market are identified, alternative product concepts are
generated and evaluated, and one or more concepts are selected for further development and testing. A concept is a
description of the form, function, and features of a product and is usually accompanied by a set of specifications, an
analysis of competitive products, and an economics justification of the project.
3. System-Level Design: This level defined the product architecture and the decomposition of the product into
subsystems and components. The final assembly scheme for the production system is usually defined during this phase.
The output of this phase usually includes a geometric layout of the product, a functional specification of each of the
product’s subsystems, and a preliminary process flow diagram for the final assembly process.
4. Detail Design: This phase includes the complete specification of the geometry, materials, and tolerances of all of the
unique parts in the product and the identification of all of the standard parts to be purchased from suppliers. A process
plan is established and tooling is designed for each part to be fabricated within the production system. The output of
this phase is the Control Documentation for the product – the drawings or computer files describing the geometry of
each part and its production tooling, the specifications of the purchase parts, and the process plans for the fabrication
tooling, the specifications of the purchased parts, and the process plans or the fabrication and assembly of the product.
TWO critical issues addressed in the detail design phase are production cost and robust performance.
5. Testing and Refinement: The testing and refinement phase involves the construction and evaluation of multiple
preproduction versions of the product. Early (alpha) prototypes are usually built with production-intent parts – parts
with the same geometry and material properties as intended for the production version of the product but not
necessarily fabricated with the actual processes to be used in production. Alpha prototypes are tested to determine
whether the product will work as designed and whether the product satisfies the key customer needs. Later (beta)
prototypes are usually built with parts supplied by the intended production processes but may not be assembled using
the intended final assembly process. Beta prototypes are extensively evaluated internally and are also typically tested
by customers in their own use environment. The goal for the beta prototypes is usually to answer questions about
performance and reliability in order to identify necessary engineering changes for the final product.
6. Product ramp-up: in the production ramp-up phase, the product is made using the intended production system. The
purpose of the ramp-up is to train the work force and to work out any remaining problems in the production processes.
Products produced during production ramp-up are sometimes supplied to preferred customers and are carefully evaluated to identify and remaining flaws. The transition from production ramp-up to ongoing production is usually
gradual. At some point in this transition, the product is launched and becomes available for widespread distribution.
Concept Development: The Front-End Process: At almost any stage, new information may become available or results
learned which can cause the tam to step back to repeat an earlier activity before proceeding. The repetition of nominally
complete activities is known as development Iteration. The concept development process includes the following activities:
1. Identifying customer needs: the goal of this activity is to understand customers and to effectively communicate them
to the development team.
2. Establishing target specifications: Specifications provide a precise description of what a product has to do. They are
the translation of the customer needs into technical teams. The output of this stage is a list of target specifications. Each
specification consists of a metric, and a marginal and ideal values for that metric.
3. Concept generation: The goal of concept generation is to thoroughly explore the space of product concepts that may
address the customer needs. Concept generation includes a mix of external search, creative problem solving within the
team, and systematic exploration of the various solution fragments the team generates. The result of this activity is
usually a set of 10 to 20 concepts, each typically represented by a sketch and brief descriptive text.
4. Concept selection: Concept selection is the activity in which various product concepts are analyzed and sequentially
eliminated to identify the most promising concepts. The process usually requires several iterations and may initiate
additional concept generation and refinement.
5. Concept testing: One or more concepts are then tested to verify that the customer needs have been met, assess the
market potential of the product, and identify any shortcomings which must be remedied during further development. If
the customer response is poor, the development project may be terminated or some earlier activities may be repeated as
6. Setting final specification: The target specifications set earlier in the process are revisited after a concept has been
selected and tested. At this point, the team must commit to specific values of the metrics reflecting the constraints
inherent in the product concept, limitations identified through technical modeling, and trade-offs between cost and
7. Project planning: In this final activity of concept development, the team creates a detailed development schedule,
devises a strategy to minimize development time, and identifies the resources required to complete the project. The
major results of the front-end activities can be usefully captured in a contract book which contains the mission
statement, the customer needs, the details of the selected concept, the product specifications, the economics analysis of
the product, the development schedule, the project staffing, and the budget. The contract books serves to document the
agreement (contract) between the team and the senior management.
8. Economic analysis: The team, often with the support of a financial analyst, builds and economic model for the new
product. This model is used to justify continuation of the overall development program and to resolve specific trade-
offs among; for example, development costs and manufacturing costs. An early economic analysis will almost always
be performed before the project even begins, and this analysis is updated as more information becomes available.
9. Benchmarking of competitive products: An understanding of competitive products is critical to successful
positioning of a new product and can provide a rich source of ideas for the products and production process design.
Competitive benchmarking is performed in support of many of the front-end activities.
10. Modeling and prototyping: Every stage of the concept development process involves various forms of models and
prototypes. These may include, among other: early “proof-of-concept” models, which help the development team to
demonstrate feasibility; “form-only” models, which can be shown to customers to evaluate ergonomics and style;
spreadsheet models of technical trade-offs, and experimental test models, which can be used to set design parameters
for robust performance.
Adapting the Generic Product Development Process:
1. Market-Pull: a firm begins product development with a market opportunity and then uses whatever available
technologies are required to satisfy the market need.
2. Technology-Push Products: In developing technology-push products, the firm begins with a new proprietary
technology and looks for an appropriate market in which to apply this technology (that is, the technology “pushes”
development). Many successful product development process can be used with minor modifications for technology-
push products. The technology-push process begins with the planning phase, in which the given technology is matched
with a market opportunity. The product is unlikely to succeed unless 1) the assumed technology offers a clear competitive advatange in meeting customer needs, and 2) suitable alternative technologies are unavailable or very
difficult for competitors to utilize.
3. Platform Products: A platform product is built around a pre-existing technological subsystem (technology platform).
E.g. apple operating system and instant film used by Polaroid. Huge investments were made in developing these
platforms, and therefore, every attempt if made to incorporate them into several different products. In some sense,
platform products are very similar to technology-push products in that the team begins the development effort with an
assumption that the product concept will embody a particular technology. The main difference is that a technology
platform has already demonstrated its usefulness in the market place in meeting customer needs. The firm can in many
cases assume that the technology will also be useful in related markets. Products built on technology platforms are
much simpler to develop than if the technology were developed from scratch. For this reason, and because of the