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The Phases of a product development lifecycle

The product development life-cycle is the journey of a product (tangible or intangible), from its conception to its execution and beyond. You will gain further clarity on the above statement as you go on reading this blog further. Any product no matter how simple or complex it may be in terms of design, shape, size, features etc. has to go through various stages of development to eventually become a commercially viable product. Each stage or phase is extremely important and is a prerequisite for the next phase. So then what are these phases of product development cycle? First and foremost phase in this development cycle is the Idea Generation Phase, as the name suggests this phase involves generating the idea of a product which suits the Organization’s strengths and has a good opportunity to sell in the market. There are various ways to generate these new Ideas like Brainstorming, SWOT analysis, R&D reports and recommendations etc. Generally a set of ideas is generated &out of them the management might select a few to proceed to the next phase which is Idea Screening Phase, in this stage all the ideas are evaluated for their commercial and operational feasibility by the Marketing and R&D verticals respectively. The idea behind this phase is to eliminate ideas that are not feasible and to do this a thorough analysis of the external and internal environment is required. After eliminating the ideas that were not feasible, we move to the next phase Concept Development, Testing & Analysis Phase. In this phase the idea is transformed into a concept by the R&D team and they start the tedious work of adding features and making a prototype of the product. Once a prototype is prepared its operational viability is determined by performing relevant tests, after these tests are performed a business analysis is conducted by taking market surveys, customer feedbacks etc. to determine how the product would perform in the target market. After having ascertained the Economic Feasibility of the product we move to the next phase which is the Technical Implementation Phase. Here major decisions are taken such as whether to manufacture the entire product or outsource a part or assembly? Where will the raw materials be sourced from? How many vendors are to be employed? How would the production floor work? What Quality parameters are important? How to monitor the Quality? This phase is aimed at answering all these questions. This phase requires planning at all three levels i.e. Strategic, tactical and operational level. After the decision on production and planning is taken we enter the last phase of the cycle which is the Commercialization Stage. The commercialization of any product involves efforts pertaining to market the product in terms of its positioning, price, promotion, differentiation, competitive analysis etc. These are generally the steps that comprise a Product Development Cycle, however this cycle may be different for different products as all products have diverse features, similarly, variables related to each organization are unique and this might change the Life-cycle for them. My aim here was to shed some light on the general nature of a product development life-cycle and what does each phase of the cycle add to the entire process. Your comments and queries are welcome do get back to us at info@i2ds.com .

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