Friday, November 9, 2012

Romancing Your Great Idea

In a way, following a good product development process is a little like dating.  The process of researching, designing, prototyping, and engineering could be compared to the development of a romance.  A relationship often starts with a few ‘get to know you’ dates, followed by increasingly intimate and serious occasions such as meeting your girlfriend’s family, shopping for an engagement ring, discussing baby names, and planning a wedding.

Imagine how risky it might be to jump straight into marriage with a girl before going on a single date.  I’m all for love at first site, but remember that she could be crazy, her views on children or lifestyle could be incompatible with yours, or she could be an axe murderer (that reminds me of a very funny movie, but I digress).  Skipping product development steps is risky too, just like skipping steps when building a romance.

To continue this analogy, manufacturing would represent the wedding in the world of product development.  Once you’ve made product, you have to live with it.  So, it’s pretty important to eliminate as much risk as possible – follow a thorough process to make sure your product is the girl of your dreams, not an axe murderer.

What if you release a product that doesn’t meet the needs of your target market?  Market research could have prevented that.  What if your product lacks the sizzle that consumers want, and just sits on store shelves?  A strong design effort could have prevented that.  What if you get 20% returns on your product due to breakage?  A thorough engineering and prototyping effort could have prevented that.  Skipping or short-cutting these steps can lead to disaster.

Take the time to get to know your spouse before you get married.  And, take the time to get to know your product before you produce it!

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