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Prototype to Product by Alan Cohen

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Chapter 5. Detailed Product Definition

Now that we’ve taken a first look and determined that our product has a chance of being a success, it’s time to do some “real development”! We’ll split “real development” into two major phases that are pretty typical, particularly for larger hardware products. The first of these phases, covered in this chapter, is about gaining confidence in what we’re building and what it will cost. Specifically, we’ll do the development that’s needed to create:

  • A comprehensive definition of what we’re building (what our product will look like and act like)

  • A realistic estimate of the effort (resources, cost, time) needed to develop the product

  • A good understanding of the cost to manufacture our product when we go to market

These items are sometimes called design outputs or phase outputs, and they become design (or phase) inputs to the next phase.

At the end of this phase, armed with better knowledge than before, we’ll revisit the “Is this worth developing?” question. If the answer is still “Yes!”, we’ll move on to the second phase of development, covered in Chapter 6, which largely consists of iterative designprototypetest cycles, repeated until our product is ready to release to manufacturing.

Phase Overview

The general flow of this first development phase is as follows:

  1. Definition. Characterize the product in detail from the perspective of the outside world. What will it do? What will it look like? These will end up as requirements that guide ...

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