Product Development

Term encompassing all activities done in support of creating a product, from identifying the market opportunity to launching the product into the market;  

“The aim of any product or process development project is to take an idea from concept to reality by converging to a specific project that can meet a market need in an economical, manufacturable form.” – Revolutionizing Product Development;

“New products and processes come to the market through a process that first transforms ideas and concepts into working prototypes through detailed design and engineering, then tests and refines them, and finally prepares the product design and factories for commercial operation.” – Revolutionizing Product Development

Best Books

Product Development is a very broad subject encompassing many disciplines (marketing, strategy, design thinking, product management, etc.). Listing the “best books” for each of those disciplines would make for a very long list, so instead of doing that, here’s a much shorter list of “high-level” books which effectively cover the entire subject of product development.

Product Design and Development – Karl Ulrich. This textbook covers most of the key concepts and is pretty readable for an academic book.

Winning at New Products – Robert Cooper. Not a textbook, but fairly dense; I like to reference it and read in snippets; endorses the “stage-gate” method of development, which some see as a flawed approach.

The Product Manager’s Desk Reference – Steven Haines. I think this is perhaps the first book you should buy if you want a comprehensive reference for all things related to product development.

Revolutionizing Product Development – Steven C. Wheelwright and Kim B. Clark. Full overview of the development process, as well as team structures, management insights, and how to build development capability.