New Product Development Process

New product development (NPD) or new product introduction (NPI) is a business process that needs to be defined and managed just as any other business process. The product development process can be broken into two sub-processes – the management process that covers business strategy, portfolio management, pipeline/resource management, and the stage/phase gate process and the project execution process that addresses how to develop a new product or service.  This is represented in the figure below. 

The project execution process is normally divided into phases or stages separated by gates or well-defined milestones.  This gated process requires a management review to determine that the project is still on-track, the risks are manageable, and the project warrants continued investment.  This process is referred to as a stage / phase-gate process.  The gate reviews are intersection between the management process and the project execution process.

The characteristics of a well-managed new product development process include:
  • Well-defined process inputs in the form of customer needs and product specifications
  • Well-defined process steps, process outputs (deliverable documents), and responsibilities
  • Flexibility to support multiple processes and tailor the NPD process to the particular project requirements
  • Process output templates to improve efficiency in creating process outputs and improve consistency
  • Process controls in the form of stage/phase-gate reviews and design reviews

PD-Trak New Product Development Software

PD-Trak provides the tools to define multiple product development processes, for example a process for a new product, a streamlined version of the process for a product upgrade or enhancement, and a process for platform development or technology development that may not lead directly to a new product.  We provide a best practices-based process for hardware, software, services, medical devices, and product enhancements based on our extensive experience in assisting companies improve the new product development process. Our process templates can be used as-is or can be used to improve an existing product development process. In both cases, PD-Trak supports the definition of the NPD process with the following elements:

  • A defined set of stages and gates
  • A task breakdown and deliverable documents associated with each stage (Task Plans)
  • A set of templates for the deliverable documents to support the process along with guidance on how to prepare each document
  • A set of Product Development Tools to support the development process including Bills of Material, Quality Function Deployment, Target Costing, Design for Manufacturability/Assembly, Failure Modes and Effects Analysis, and Control Plans Agendas and guidelines for gate reviews and design reviews

PD-Trak™ not only helps define a more standardized product development process or stage/phase-gate process, but it also helps both project teams and management use this process.  This stage/phase gate software aids teams in planning their projects based on the NPD process, provides easy access to the various tools and templates that are part of the process, and facilitates preparing for stage/phase gate reviews – all of which improve compliance to the process as well as improved effectiveness.  This is especially important in industries requiring strict regulatory compliance or companies that adhere to ISO 9001.