What are the major steps required in product development process?

Wood Products December 12, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF


Every organization has a different product development process, some more structured than others. Furthermore, variations of the product development processes can exist in the same organization for different types of development projects. There are also several frameworks for product development available, such as the Stage-Gate process by Robert G. Cooper [1], the New Product Development process by the Product Development & Management Association [4], and processes based on the Toyota product development system [5, 6]. No matter which process is adopted, some steps are needed for an effective product development project, based on Ulrich and Eppinger [2], these steps are: (1)  planning, which includes opportunity identification, project’s mission statement, and allocating resources; (2) concept development, including generating alternative product concepts to satisfy a need in the market, and selecting a few concepts for further development; (3) design, which involves defining the product architecture, including its major subsystems and components, and a detailed design with complete specifications of geometry and materials, and tooling design; (4) testing, where the product is tested in its intended environment and refinements are made based on the results; and lastly (5) production ramp-up, including manufacturing the product with the intended production system, training the workforce, and correcting any issues before full production.



1.              Cooper, R.G., Winning at new products; creating value through innovation 4th ed. 2011, New York, NY: Basic Books. 408.

2.              Ulrich, K.T. and S.D. Eppinger, Product design and development. 2011, Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education. 432.

3.              Schneider, J. and J. Hall, Why Most Product Launches Fail. Harvard Business Review, 2011. 89(4): p. 21-23.

4.              Kahn, K.B., PDMA Handbook of New Product Development. 2nd ed. 2005: John Wiley & Sons. 640.

5.              Morgan, J.M. and J.K. Liker, The Toyota product development system : integrating people, process, and technology. 2006, New York: Productivity Press. 377.

6.              Kennedy, M.N., Product development for the lean enterprise : why Toyota's system is four times more productive and how you can implement it. 2003, Richmond, Va.: Oaklea Press. 254.


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.