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Prototype to Product by Alan Cohen

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Chapter 2. Development Process Overview

Several categories of activities take place when creating a new product, including:

  • Dreaming up a cool idea

  • Designing

  • Building

  • Testing

  • Purchasing parts

Each of these categories, of course, consists of many tasks and subtasks. All of these activities will absolutely be performed between the start of development and the time when we have a successful product on the market. Our job is to see that they can get done in an orderly and efficient way.

For example, we can plan well for FCC Part 15 approval (required of virtually all electronic products sold in the US), testing prototypes as we go along to make sure the final product passes its test. Or we can wait until product development is complete and hope that our product passes its tests; if it doesn’t, our product development isn’t complete, and we might have to go back and do substantial redesign. Or we can wait until we get a letter from the FCC alleging that we’re illegally selling uncertified devices. Obviously, the first of these options has the lowest potential for bad outcomes.

The difference between successful and failed products is largely in knowing, at the project-wide level, what to do and when to it. In this chapter, we’ll review the general activities performed during product development and the sequence that often is the most efficient. Note that the importance of sequencing cannot be overstated: following a reasonable sequence throughout a project saves time, money, ...

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