Developing a new product requires
a series of discreet product development phases. Advent Design
has developed a Product Development Methodology that has proven
to be highly effective in bringing quality products to market
in a timely manner.
The Product Development Methodology
employed by Advent Design defines the entire life-cycle of a product
as the product moves from Proof of Concept all the way to first
run production and beyond. While Advent Design is not always involved
in all phases of the process, using a structured approach improves
the probability that the product will be successful.
Following is a summary of
Advent Design’s Product Development Methodology, which has
been incorporated into and certified under Advent Design’s
ISO 9001 program. The first three phases are fairly traditional
and generally accepted in the development of a new product. The
last three phases involve maximizing the company’s return
after the product enters the marketplace.
I. Phase One - Conceptual Design
A. Product Specifications
The first step in the development process
is setting up the project team and creating a specification
document detailing all of the features and performance specifications
of the design, the target market, and the cost and pricing parameters.
This information serves to set the course for subsequent design
phases and is reviewed by engineering, management, marketing,
production, and anyone else in the company affected by the new
product. The information is beneficial in keeping the product
development effort on track and moving toward the desired release
date. Without this information the development group would be
sidetracked (or even moved backwards) as product features are
re-examined and old options reconsidered.
In addition to creating a product specification
document the first phase requires that a design concept be presented
for approval. The design concept generally includes product
sketches and possibly a mock-up of the product to ensure that
the look and feel of the product meets the expectations of the
The first phase is complete once the Concept Approval Meeting
(CAM) has been held and the specification document and design
concept approved by the entire project team and other interested
II. Phase Two - Feasibility
A. Proof-of-Concept Prototype
The second phase addresses the technical
risks associated with the product’s development and how
these risks are being, or have been overcome. It may be necessary
to quickly test the viability of a design concept before further
consideration is given to it. In this instance, a Proof-of-Concept
prototype is constructed and a Prototype Approval Meeting (PAM)
scheduled. Proof-of-Concept prototypes are typically crudely
constructed models that exhibit only the features that are in
question in order to prove out their viability.
Following approval of the Proof-of-Concept
prototype the Alpha test plan is written. The test plan is written
prior to the design of the Alpha prototype so that all of the
test requirements that the Alpha prototype must meet are known
up-front, ensuring that the required performance of the unit
is "designed in". After approval of the test plan,
the Alpha prototype is designed and detailed. The goal of the
Alpha prototype design is to create a working prototype that
meets all of the design specifications. Because final production
tooling is not generally available at this stage, rapid prototyping
methods are typically employed. Advent Design uses many different
prototyping methods to quickly produce plastic parts and cast
parts without the need for expensive tooling. Upon successful
Alpha testing, a review meeting is held to evaluate the results
of the testing and to determine where refinements are necessary
that will be incorporated in the Beta prototype.
III. Phase Three - Development
A. Beta Prototype
The Development and Design phase calls
for the fabrication of a series of Beta units to be designed,
documented, and built. Much like the Alpha prototype, the Beta
prototype begins with a Beta test plan. These test plans differ
from the Alpha test plan in that Beta testing is performed with
or by end users in order to get a feel for what real-world problems
may be encountered in the field. Once the test plan is in order,
design of the Beta prototype ensues. Upon approval of the Beta
design, construction and Beta testing follow. These units are
field-tested, modifications made as required, and a final approval
meeting held. Once approved, the product is ready for market
Following completion of Beta testing
the project moves into Pre-Production. The objective of Pre-Production
is to transition the prototyping efforts to production. All
prototyping documentation is converted to production-level standards.
Tooling and manufacturing methods are examined. Ultimately,
a "mini production run" of the product is done to
test the manufacturing process.
The units produced during the Pre-Production run may be released
to the general market as sales samples. Following a successful
Pre-Production run, full production of the product can begin.
IV. Phase Four - Introduction
The objective of the Introduction Phase is to ensure that the
product has reached the anticipated markets, that the market has
embraced the product as anticipated, and that the product has
been successfully integrated into the manufacturing process.
V. Phase Five - Standardization
The objective of the Standardization Phase is to reduce manufacturing
costs and identify new products that may either augment or "piggy-back"
on the sales of the product.
VI. Phase Six – Succession
The objective of the final phase is to plan for and withdraw a
product from the marketplace and complete the life cycle for the
product. This step should coincide with the release of a new replacement