Product Development Stages
So, what are the 2 development processes we discussed in the last class?
Student: Stage gate process
Professor: Stage Gate Process and Spiral Design Process, right. So, when is the Stage Gate
process used? Anybody? Or when a Spiral Gate process? Spiral process used basically when it is
a time compressed industry where you need to bring out the product at a particular time you
cannot wait or what or maybe the dealer you need to release the product; such kind of companies
normally use Spiral Design process.
So, most of the consumer products or most of the other products, other than software normally
go for a Stage Gate Design process. So, what is the Stage Gate process? As the name suggests,
you have different stages and at the end of each stage there is a gate which will evaluate the
progress in that particular stage and if it satisfies the conditions for going to the next stage, it will
pass the gate and then go to the next stage and like that it will continue multiples stages and gates
it will reach the final stage and the product will be released that is basically the Stage Gate
So, what is the main difference between Stage Gate process and spiral process? Yeah, in Stage
Gates you have 100 percent complete product at the end of 1 Stage Gate process, and spiral
Student: Multiple stage gate process
Professor: Yeah. So, spiral is basically a multiple Stage Gate process. So, you will have 1 Stage
Gate process completed, you have a product, but it may not be 100 percent complete then it will
go through 1 more Stage Gate process and then you will have another product which is still not
complete and like that it will go multiple Stage Gate process and finally, you will be having a
product at the end of 2 or 3 Stage Gate process that is basically the Spiral process.
So, we looked at the Stage Gate process and then I talked about some of the most important
stages in Product Development. So, we discussed 3 important stages in any product development
and went for a Stage Gate process. We talked about 3 important stages. What are these stages?
Understand the opportunity, develop a vision right or develop a concept and third one?
Implement, so these are the 3 stages in any product development. You take any new product
development or a product which you want to modify. For example, all of you are using cycles,
right. How many of you are not using cycle, ok, all of you are using cycle. Are you happy with
the cycle? Yes or No. There are some no's also. So, when you say yes, you do not see any
opportunity to develop a new product, right because you are happy with the products.
Unless somebody comes with a better product, you will be happy with this product, you are not
going to design anything or you are not going to think about that new product. So, if you feel that
this product is not good, or this product can be improved, then you are actually seeing an
opportunity to develop new products. For example, you see that your cycle is very difficult to
pedal in the morning, you are in a hurry and you are here to pedal all the way. By the time you
reach here it will be sweating all the way and you feel very uncomfortable.
That may be 1 reason why you are not happy with it or you feel that you have to put a lot of
effort to do the pedalling. Somebody will think that, ok why cannot we make a new product or a
new bicycle which you do not need to put this much effort into. That is the starting point for a
You may decide or you may tell somebody else someone else to design. But that is the first stage
where you try to identify an opportunity to design a product, that is the opportunity where you
feel that, ok, there is a problem with the existing product, I have an opportunity to design new
products, but that alone is not sufficient to design a product because many people would have
thought the same thing before you, you are not the first person to use cycle or you are not the
first person to feel that there is a problem with the cycle.
So, there might be a lot of other people who thought about it and then dropped it because of
various reasons .
(Refer Slide Time: 05:39)
‘The understand the opportunity’ is basically looking at that opportunity and then see, is it really
worth going ahead with that opportunity? Yeah, because you may be unhappy with the many
products, ok. You may be unhappy with the teacher, you may be unhappy with the classes. But
you do not have much of an option, right? You need to come and then listen. The point is just
because you are unhappy with the product or just because you do not feel that the product is
good, that does not mean that there is always an opportunity. You have to do a lot of analysis to
see where there is a real opportunity or not that is basically known as understand the opportunity.
It is not only identifying an opportunity, but understand the opportunity based on various factors,
that is the first part and the once that part is clear, you are actually working through a gate and
this gate will actually analyze, is there a real opportunity and if it passes through this, then it will
go to that develop a concept stage. These are the 3 important stages. They are understand the
opportunity, develop a concept, implement the concept.
There are multiple activities and all these activities which are needed to make the decision to
start a product design is basically the understand the opportunity and all activities to make the
decision to which is what the product should do and what the product will be doing is basically
develop a concept and implement the concept is basically you make the product as state and then
prove that everything is fine and then release it in the market.
These are the 3 important stages in the design of a new product: understand the opportunity,
develop a concept, implement the concept, these are the 3 stages which you will be going
through when you start designing a new product. We will be focusing only these 2 aspects.
Because for implementing a concept, you require a lot of other engineering inputs. We will be
talking about how to understand the real opportunity to design a product and how we develop a
concept to design a product that is basically the functional and conceptual aspect of the design .
(Refer Slide Time: 08:17)
Let us look at the understand the opportunity and then see what are the different stages involved
in that because as I told you, it is not just that you are unhappy with the product is not their
opportunity always, but maybe that may be 1 of the opportunities one of the activities.
So, understand the opportunity can actually be divided into 4 important activities : develop a
vision for a new product. That is, you need to have a vision for a new product to come to the
markets. That is the first stage in understanding that opportunity. What product do we wish were
out there? That is where actually you are interested or you are on imagination or you are on
understanding you are not happy with the existing product or you feel that there should have
been a good there would have been a good product which will meet your requirements.
This is how we actually load new products when I say that I am not happy with this projector. I
feel that ok there can be a much better product than this that is actually a starting of my vision for
a new product. Similarly, and you feel that your specs are not good. So, having specs is not that
convenient, most of you are using facts, you know that it is not that easy to use as practice you
have a lot of difficulties.
And sometimes if it is broken, you have a difficulty in reading, or you need to maintain it or you
need to change it every 2 or 3 years. But there are a lot of problems with the specs. Like this,
when you have such things, you will see that ok, well there should be a better product to handle
these things. That is the first part. What product do we wish were out there? The second one,
what is difficult with the current product we use?
What is the difficulty? What are the difficulties that we face? When we are when, when have
current products? And what are the difficulties we have? And why does it not do something we
want it to do? What makes it not possible to do things which we want it to do? Again, taking the
example of a projector, I do not want to connect this and then look for the compatibility issues.
So, that is the problem that I am facing with this and why is it not able to do that?
Why cannot it directly connect to the projector or can we have something else to do this? So,
these are the things which actually will lead to having vision for a new product, the answers to
these questions and similar questions are vision for a new product. You are either not happy with
the current products or you feel that the current products are not able to do things which we want
these to do.
Or there are some difficulties with the current product in executing what you are expecting. All
these will lead you to think about a new product or vision for a new product. So, that is the vision
for a new product or the call just ‘develop a vision’. So, we want to develop a vision for new
projects. But all of us can have hundreds of visions. We can always think about a lot of things as
I just want to fly from here to the hostel. It is a vision for me. I do not want to cycle. I do not
want to walk. I do not want to run. If I start from here, I can just fly. Yeah, with my backpack by
pressing a button on my backpack I will be able to fly. That is a vision, right. You can have like
that you can have hundreds of visions, but then are these visions a feasible one, is there a real
opportunity into developing that or is this a feasible thing that is the second stage, which we call
as the market opportunity analysis.
You have a vision for developing new products. Yeah, that is that vision you feel that, yes, the
current products are not good, they are having a lot of difficulties in, I mean, meeting our
requirements or our expectations. So, I want to develop a new product, somebody says I want to
make an electric cycle simple. So, you are not happy with your bicycle. So, you want to say that,
ok, I do not want to pedal every day from my hostel to here.
If it is an electric cycle, it would have been much better for me so that I do not need to pedal. I
just get into the cycle and press a button, you just take me. So, I will just simply sit there like any
other automobile, let us say, vision. But then the next question is, ok, so if I develop this, this is
someone going to buy this or it will be only me who will be buying this or using this. And then
there is no point in making it.
Because whenever you develop a product, you have to sell the product in the market. And if you
are not able to sell it, there is no point in making it as. So, the second aspect of designing the
product is to check, is there a market for the product? The market opportunity analysis that
includes whether the vision can be transformed into a successful realization. So, in the case of a
cycle, it is not that difficult to convert their normal bicycle, electric bicycle, many people are that
It can be transformed into successful realization. It is not very difficult but then if you have a
vision that I want to fly, I do not want to use a cycle. I do not want to use any other thing. I just
want to fly from here. It is not that easy realization. So, you need to check whether your vision
can be realized or can be transformed into a product through some realistic means. Is there a
realistic way to transform your vision to reality or to your products?
That is the first question we need to answer. And whether the product can be developed and
implemented in a product that they are worthwhile profits. So, any development, any design or
any product coming into the market, the ultimate aim of the designer or the person who actually
developed is to make profits because it is not for a charity, not a charity work. Any business or
any entrepreneurial activity should lead to profit.
The market opportunity, we will look at it this way, is there a way we can get a profit in this
business? That is the ultimate goal of market opportunity analysis. So, you do a lot of surveys,
market surveys, cost analysis, development costs etc. And finally, check, can this be developed?
What profit can we get out of this business? When you feel that there is a good market for the
products? There are a lot of people ready to buy this and the cost of production or cost of the
product will be reasonable and can be, it is an affordable one, then only you will get profits, ok.
Therefore, you need to make sure that there is a profit possible in that, you know, that actually
depends on the type of investment you make. But normally, consumer products will be within 2
years you should be able to make profits, but then medical devices that someday it will take 5, 6
years. So, depending on the product, then the level of investment you make may vary from 2
years to 5 years, 6 years.
Of course, you do not get the profit immediately. But the question is that is there a way I mean,
you will see that the product naturally be market debt with their ultimate profit at the end of 1 or
2 years depending on them, but this will be actually understood when we do a market analysis
and then we prepare a project plan it says that, ok, first year to invest this much money and you
will be having only very less income the first year, second year investment may come down, but
your revenue may go up and that of 2 or 3 years you will start seeing that you are getting money.
That is the way how you do the analysis. So, that is the second one in understanding the
opportunity. First, you need to have a vision, second you need to look at the market and then see
whether it can be sold in the market with a reasonable profit. The second 1, ok now, you did this
analysis and then you found that, ok, your vision is very great and your market opportunity says
it is good and there is a good profit that you can make.
This is the stage and then you will be having a gate here then you analyze and then you come to
this stage and then again you will be having a gate here and the market opportunity also tells that
it is a good opportunity there is a good profit possible, then we take you to that next stage. That
is the customer needs analysis and this seems to be the most challenging task because so far you
talked about your own vision only.
You had a vision. That is why you thought that ok, it is a good product and you wanted to design
it and then you looked at the markets. Looking at it from the commercial point of view only,
what is the commercial aspect of it, how much money you can make? And now the question is
once you decide to develop the product, it is not that you are going to use it or you are not the
only person going to use it, it will be used by a large number of people.
You need to know what they are looking for in the product that is the most important because
you need to provide what the customer is asking in the product the customer is expecting in the
product. That is where we need to do a detailed customer need analysis to know what the
customer population is expecting in that product. And this will be the most interesting part.
Because whatever you thought about this product.
When you go and ask the people, they will say oh, this is not what I want. I want something else,
or I am expecting this in this product. I do not want to just look for an electric cycle. You thought
that the electric cycle would be the great thing. But then people said no, I am not looking for an
electric cycle. I am looking for something else. I do not want this to be a 2 wheeled 1 because
balancing is an issue or my problem is not about the electric pedalling my problem is with
respect to the tire getting punctured or the maintenance I need to make or the theft of my cycle,
these are my problems, why are you worried about electric cycle.
Similarly, you will see that there are hundreds of needs for the customer, which you thought is
not at all important. So, this is where you will get a lot of insight on the product, saying that what
you need to give providing the product may be completely different from what you thought of
providing the product. And the important aspect is that if you are not able to provide this in
products, the customer is not going to buy the products.
So, understanding the customer is 1 of the most important and sometimes most difficult parts of
product development in the first stage itself, that is we are in understanding the opportunity, you
guys with the customer say something and you are not able to provide, then there is no
opportunity to develop products or opportunity is lost. So, what the customer population wants
the new product to do is very important in understanding the opportunity.
And there are different ways to do this. There will be a lot of methods, which we will be going
through in detail later. What are the different ways in which you can develop the product? So, his
question was, can we have the customer need analysis first and then put it under the vision? That
was your point. Yeah, see this one is? See first you, you try to start the products. I mean, you
have to have a vision for a new product.
Then only you can go to the customer and ask whether you like this or not or do you want this or
not? If you simply go to customer you do not know what to ask the customer because you do not
know what product you are going to make unless you have a vision for a new product that is why
you need to have a vision for a new product you should have an idea yes it according to my own
understanding this may be the right product for the people may looking for.
And then only I can go and find out from the customer what they are looking for in that product
again. So, if you are saying that ok, I can go to the first customer and then ask what they are
looking for. Then it is not for the need to analyze the thing, it is more of what kind of products
they want in the markets, ok. So, we are not looking, asking about what kind of products you
want in the market.
And we are trying to find out. Yes, I am going to make an electric bicycle. What kind of things
you expect in the electric bicycle is basically the need analysis. I am not asking whether you
need an electric bicycle or what do you call a separate modern mobile phone? I am not asking
like that I am not asking whether you need to have a better washing machine that does not need
analysis that is more of a customer's vision for the product.
So, you are not working on the customer's vision for the product you are working on your own
vision for the product and then trying to see whether that vision has an opportunity or not. Yeah,
so the only thing is there is no misunderstanding customer need analysis basically, we are doing
in order to find out what should be there in that product. So, that the customer will buy it, ok.
No, no see market is basically is there a market for electric bicycles or not? There is a market
analysis we are doing. Yeah, how many people are using cycles, how many people will be
interested in buying an electric bicycle but your own estimate on me, and then what will be the
approximate cost of a bicycle and security to cancel? Is there a way to make a profit out of that.
So, we are focusing on that particular segment of the market and then we decided to make an
Now, we need to find out what are the things needed in the electric bicycle, we are only focusing
on that electric bicycle product and whether they like to have it as a combination of both
pedalling and electric or only electric and if it is electric, what should be the duration of charging
or what kind of charging to be there what kind of battery to be indeed and will approximate cost
they are expecting.
These are the basic customer needs of that product, ok, not for multiple products we are trying to
find out. This needs analysis basically to ensure that whatever you develop will be sold in the
market because it actually meets the expectations of the customer. Got it? Yeah. So, that is the
customer needs analysis for the existing product you wish to bring into the market to understand
what kind of expectations are there for the customer in this particular product.
And finally, we will do a competitive analysis, analyze the company's products in the market and
then see whether you can really compete with the other manufacturers in the markets. If at all
there is a competitor, if there is no competitor, of course, you do not need to do it directly, but
you need to do an analysis to check whether someone can actually come into the market and then
start a new product like this.
Is there a potential competitor coming up in the future or how easy or difficult it is for a
competitor to come to the market? That is the competitive analysis, analyze the competitive
products on the market, and how well they satisfy the customer needs. So, if there is an existing
product, you can find out whether this is actually meeting the customer requirements or not if it
is not meeting the customer requirements, what are the issues and how you can address those
So, that is basically the competitive analysis of the product. So, if you do all this analysis and at
the end of this gate, so you have stages and gates and you cross this gate, then you are saying
that, yes there is a good opportunity to design a new product that is the first stage of product
development understanding the opportunity. You need to have a good vision for a product. You
should be able to analyze the market opportunity analysis to say that ok, you will be able to make
the product and sell with their reasonable profits.
And once you are sure of that, do you look at the customers' needs and then see whether you will
be able to meet the customers' needs or not. And then finally, you look at the competition in the
market, how many people will be competing with you? Or how can you compete with the
existing people and still make profits. So, these are the steps you need to go through or the stages
you need to go through to come to the next stage of developing a product.
I will be discussing it separately. There are 2 ways to look at the product design 1 is that the
customer does not know what we are capable of. I will make a product then sell in the market,
ok. The other 1 customer is asking for something, let me satisfy that one, ok. These are the 2
ways in which you can do but in whatever the issue is, whatever maybe the methods, it is always
good to know what the customer is looking for.
See, for example, you know, iPod. iPod, you can say iPad also the customers were not asked for
iPad or iPod right they never did that and looking for an iPod or there is but the company thought
that there is an opportunity for that, that is their vision. So, they had a vision of developing a
product, which will actually change the way people listen to music or people use the computers.
So, that was the vision of the company. Then they did not simply make it and then started selling
in the market. So, they went through the market opportunity they tried to find out is there a
reasonable profit that you can make, but then it is they also go through a customer need analysis,
basically, they know what they are going to make. So, they will try to find out what will be the
approximate requirements of the customer.
So, these customers will be a select group of people who can actually be told about the product,
what they are trying to bring in and what they, what is their requirement? If something comes up
in the market like that, whether you will be able to buy it or whether you will be what kind of
things you want this 1 to be available in that product. So, what kind of a market survey do
customers need to analyze?
The reason is that they do not want to make the product and then later on realize that oh we
missed that 1 because people were actually looking for this, they did not we did not get it or we
could not provide that. So, to avoid that there will always be a customer needing analysis, ok. So,
if you look at the end of any product, now you can see there are many products which failed in
the markets mainly because they could not capture the customer news properly.
And sometimes because of technology changes and many other things will happen but mainly
when the customer's needs are not properly understood. Then the product may fail. In the market,
there are a lot of examples for past products failing because of no focus on customer's needs. So,
there are methods to analyze the customer needs, we will go through some simple exercises later
on how to analyze the customers' needs and then try to convert that into product requirements.
So, that is the first step understand the opportunity .
(Refer Slide Time: 29:27)
At the end of these 4 activities, the design team understand the state of the company to market
the customer population and any available technologies. A gate evaluation can be done. So, gate
evaluation will be done at the end of this to decide whether to proceed in the development of new
That is the outcome of this understand the opportunity, you will have a gate analysis and the
team and the higher management team will analyze all these findings and then decide whether to
go for it or not, and they find that the market is not there. They may stop it also. All of you know
about Nano cars. Was it a success or a failure, failure? Success. How many are saying success?
There are many people who say it is a success. And many say that is failure, so tell me why do
you think it is success? What is the reason? It was cheap, cheap, affordable, and popular. Yeah,
that is the word actually you call their success, Yeah. Somebody said failure now. Yeah, why
was it a failure, so why does he say it failed.
Student: Design is bad
Professor: So, he says it fails because the design was not good. And the advertisement was not
Student: Not affordable
Professor: It was not affordable, So, see affordability was 1 customer need, they thought that it
would be a better thing and probably they did a customer need analysis to find out what is the
approximate cost of the car that can be that is considered to be affordable, So, they put it as 1
lakh in the beginning. I think now it is 2.5 or something like that. But see 1 way in terms of
innovation that was a good product. Yeah.
Because no 1 nobody in the automobile industry ever thought that you can have a car for 1,500
dollars. I mean, in terms of US dollars. Nobody thought that and they actually went through a lot
of design processes. Which actually made it possible. They redesigned almost all the components
of the car to make it cheaper, affordable because all Indian designers, Indian companies, rework
their designs to get the product at an affordable price.
So, in terms of innovation, it was a good product. In terms of course, it was good. I think in
terms of performance also, it was a good car, no doubt about it. I mean, people could actually
accept that the good part in terms of power and all that up of course, the sound was a bit
arrogant, I mean, not that comfortable. But why does it fail?
Student: Not safe
Professor: Safety, so safety was 1 concern. Yeah. Not profitable. Yes. Pardon? They could not
compete with other cars. There was no other car in the same segment actually. Yeah, but see a
very strange reason probably you can find the failure of that car. So, when they advertised the
car, the advertisement was a poor man's car. That was what they advertised as a poor man's car.
How many people will like to call this poor? See, nobody says that I am poor unless I get some
money from the government.
Otherwise everybody will say I am not poor. I have money, I think why I should be called a poor
man. So, when you drive it, Nano, others will think that you are a poor man. So, nobody wants to
get that tag of a poor man that actually adversely affected the markets. Many people thought,
‘Oh, that is a poor man's car, it is not for me’.
And nobody really wanted to be tagged as a poor man, whether they have money or not,
independently, I mean, if you ask anybody, they will say I am not poor, I am also rich like you
can because it is very related to the term poor and rich right. So, 1 of the reasons why it actually
could not capture the market though it says what are the performance and everything only they
tagged it as a poor man's car.
And then people did not really want it to be tagged as maybe that might be 1 of the reasons why
the people, I bet people did not go for that car. So, that was just to tell you that many things will
affect the side such as a product, the second stage in the product development, develop a
concept. So, once you are sure about there is an opportunity to design it to make a new product,
then you start to start developing the concepts.
So, you have the customers' requirements, are they understood? So, you need to see what the
product must do to supply the customer satisfaction. So, to supply the customer satisfaction
through customer need analysis, you try to find out what are the requirements of the customer
and once you understand the requirements of the customer, it is the job of the designer to see
how to satisfy the customer.
This is where the creativity of the designer comes into picture. Because customers will tell, "oh it
should look nice, it should be affordable and I should feel proud of using the despite product."
So, this kind of very subject to customer needs will be mentioned. It is the job of the designer to
see how we can convert the subjective requirement of the customer to object your design needs
and then put that into that product when the customer says, it should look nice, what do you do