Product development cycle explained


New products are flooding the market every single day. We only get to see the finished article but have you ever wondered what sort of process goes into creating them? A market failure can be disastrous for a company, so the development process of any new goods has to be watertight. Find out the eight steps it takes for a product to be developed by reading our easy to understand guide below. Of course, if you want to learn more, you should head over to the latest articles on

Step 1: Concept

Every new product starts with a good – or a not so good – idea. There are many different methods to formulating concepts but in general, companies are looking to fulfil customer needs. Basic ideas such as how the product will function are also discussed during this vital stage of the product development process.

Step 2: Feasibility Study

After formulating a long list of ideas, it is then time to ask the question: will the product actually work and can it be profitable? This normally involves senior figures in a company conducting what is known as a feasibility study where the best designs are scrutinised in terms of the customers needs.

Step 3: Design

After this, the design process can begin. During stage 3, formal engineering specifications are formulated and then a prototype is produced. This is not the finished article, it is a more cheaply produced replica. Along the way, rigorous quality checks are made to minimise the risk of the product failing in the future.

Step 4: Testing

Before taking the product to market, an extended period of testing must take place. This includes both safety testing to ensure everything complies with manufacturing laws, as well as quality testing to see if the product meets the requirements of the brief. If testing is unsuccessful, the product must return to stage 3.

Step 5: Validation

Before moving to manufacturing, the product will receive one final set of checks. What companies are looking for here is whether or not the original ideation has been followed through faithfully to meet customers needs.

Step 6: Manufacture

After all that, the product can be manufactured. Depending on the nature of the product this can either be done in a factory or via coding machines if it is software.

Step 7: Launch

If it passes the previous six stages successfully, the product will finally be launched. This is when it finally hits the markets, ready to be accepted or rejected by consumers. This time period is characterised by heavy marketing and advertising as companies attempt to increase brand awareness of their new product.

Step 8: Refinement

A product’s development does not end when it gets released. After launch day, companies will closely track its performance, as well as logging any complaints that customers are reporting. Once they have this data, the process of improvement, or more accurately, refinement, can begin in earnest. This can take the form of simple software updates in some cases, or wholesale product recalls in others.