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Use this checklist to help to develop new products, from developing new ideas to setting budgets, deciding on product specification and prototyping.
- Generate ideas for new and modified products - for example, from customer feedback, employee suggestions and technological developments.
- Assess how these ideas fit with your strategy, market position and skills; confirm that you have the resources to devote to development.
- Research the market, assessing customer requirements and sales potential; identify key risks and plan your marketing strategy.
- Research the competition and potential competition; learn from competitors' successes and failures.
- Form a project team covering all the key skills (eg marketing, design, production, purchasing and finance) led by a product champion.
- Plan the critical path, identifying which activities must be undertaken in sequence and which can happen in parallel.
- Set budgets, objectives and timescales; be prepared to regularly assess progress during the project and, if necessary, modify plans.
- Assess risks to the project such as technical hurdles, availability of cash and other resources and whether you can secure intellectual property rights.
- Define the basic product specification and translate specific features into product requirements; identify your key selling points.
- Estimate the likely selling price and set target production costs; assess likely actual costs of development and production, allowing for contingencies.
- Design the product, taking into account marketing, production and purchasing requirements.
- Develop a prototype to iron out technical and production issues and to test market reaction; make any necessary changes.
- Gear up for full-scale production and launch the product.
- Continue to monitor the product's success and look for opportunities to further develop it.