The First Step to a Successful Product is the Process – Part 1

The future of your business relies on good ideas for good products. What can you do to improve your chances of great ideas coming to fruition in the real world?

When you have a compelling idea for a product, it’s easy to want to skip steps and move as quickly as you can to get your great idea to market. The real key to success for developing any successful product is to follow a complete process that considers all the complexities involved.

Don’t underestimate the cost of doing a poor job with your process. At very least, it will cost you money and time. In other cases, it will stop you from getting to market in a timely manner.

What we are describing here is a primer to get you thinking about whether your process is fully developed and usable. And if this isn’t the case, how can you bring your process up to speed?

In Part 2 of this series I will share with you an outline of the detailed process we follow in our own work to make sure no steps get skipped.

What does a complete process look like?

A strong product development process is not just a simple formula that instantly perfects your product, but rather a process that if followed diligently can ensure a higher probability of success.

What you are attempting to do is a difficult task that will require a great deal of detail and preparation. Regardless of field and product complexity, the same questions should be examined to ensure nothing is overlooked.

There are 3 defined phases to the process of product development – (1) Project Initiation, (2) Design Development, and (3) Product Validation and Release. Each phase has several steps, and working through each of these steps is the key to “considering all the complexities involved,” as we mentioned above.

Discipline and Detail are Both Key to Success

For all of us involved in product development it is easy to forget details in the exuberance or necessity of getting a product to market.

  • If you are leading a product development team be sure to take the time to establish and follow a process and push your people to use and refine it.
  • If you are an entrepreneur that is relying on outside designers to support you be sure they have processes in place to guide you.  

In all cases having the discipline and detail in following a process will ensure your success.

Part 2 of this post will cover the steps of all of these phases in some detail, and give you a blueprint you can follow to ensure your own process is complete and thorough.

This whole protocol is keyed on finding the balance between asking the right questions to encompass all parts, players, and purposes for your product, while still maintaining enough simplicity to allow for forward motion and not getting bogged down in the most granular detail.



Roy Melling – Partner

Roy joined Innovate in 2004, bringing with him a background in development of consumer electronics and health care products.

Whether bridging the gap between design and manufacturing or dealing with medical device compliance, Roy has extensive knowledge in the manufacturing end of product development, both domestically and overseas.

If you like, you can always connect with him directly on LinkedIn.


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