There is little agreement on how many steps there are in the product development process, but all product developers agree that there are several steps in the process and that in a good product development process, you may go through several steps over and over again until you get things right.
Typically, there are the basic core steps in product development.
The first is idea generation. Basically, coming up with ideas that you can evaluate and consider.
The second step in the product development process is screening through your ideas to pick the ideas that are most likely to be successful.
The third step is taking an idea you think is likely to be successful and then trying to make the idea into reality so that you can test and evaluate the concept more closely.
The final step in the product development process is taking your developed concept and then taking it into manufacturing and ultimately, commercialization.
These various steps are broken down into many different components typically. But in all cases, how thoroughly you go through each of these four primary steps will really determine whether you are successful or not in taking your ideas for a new product or other invention into meaningful money for you.
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For more information on each of the steps in Product Development, take a look at some of the resources listed below:
Product Developer Blog from the Product Developer and Manager's Association
AIPMM - Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM) is largest professional organization of product, brand managers, and product marketing managers.