Product Development Process: 4 Steps To Be Effective!

Product development
Developpement de produits 4 etapes pour etre efficace

The product development process is not a simple thing, but when it is carried out in a structured way, all the chances are on your side. By following the steps in the right order and investing the necessary time, you won’t guarantee that your product will be successful, but at least you will have done everything you can to make it happen.

Of course, in this article, we only present the highlights of a long process. We're not going to tell you all our little secrets, but here are some useful tips!

For a successful product development, you need to follow these four steps.

  1. Research
  2. Proof of Concept
  3. Development
  4. Validation

To get the best possible result, involve several departments in your project. At Soucy, sales, industrial design, engineering departments and the client's teams are at the heart of product development.

It's time to brainstorm! In this first step, you can use different creative processes to generate as many ideas as possible. First, it is important to determine the right user profile for your product. Who will use the product and what are their needs?

Once you answer these questions, you can develop your concept. Looking for ideas? Make an inspiration board and brainstorm with your team. This quick and simple technique allows you to present themes to evoke an idea or even an emotion. Preliminary sketches can be drawn to visualize your concept.

Then, a functional analysis will establish the functions of the product in order to satisfy the user's needs. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What will be the necessary functions of the product?
  • What will be the specifications for the technical structure, ergonomics and aesthetics of the product?
  • Will the product have to withstand certain loads?
  • What are the important compatibilities (e.g. other products, vehicle models, etc.)?
  • What exactly will the product be used for?

These requirements will allow you to develop the product validation plan at the same time. In summary, your product must fulfill its main function while considering the constraints.

Once a concept is defined, a prototype can be built. You will then be able to do some preliminary testing and clear up major uncertainties early in the product development process.

The 3D modeling is then used to run a simulation of the product before proceeding to the next stage of development. At this point, you can get an idea of the manufacturing costs by selecting certain suppliers. Your concept takes form!

At this stage, the product becomes concrete and approaches the final result. Depending on the complexity of your project, one or more prototypes can be built. This prototype is an example of what the final product could be. This is the time to test it and see if your concept is viable. You can test the product yourself or have it tested by your customers and/or users.

Feel free to improve your prototype based on the feedback you get. Repeat as often as necessary. This way, your level of confidence in your product will increase and, by the same time, its viability.

Make sure you fix the last little details to deliver a high-performance product. Check if the product fulfills all its functions and make sure that the requirements defined at the beginning of the project are respected in order to satisfy the user. You are at the final stage; this is the last moment to fine-tune everything!

In this last step, you have made all possible validations and production is ready to start. You are satisfied with the result; the product is fully functional, and the user will be delighted.

Product development is not a linear process. There will certainly be failures, and these are essential for improvement and learning. Stay creative and flexible, keep in mind the needs of the user and like a roller coaster, sometimes it can be destabilizing to jump into a void, but in the end, we are proud of what we have accomplished. Innovation is not without risk!