“Make It Right” – 5 Ways to Improve Your Product Development

Developing a new product or extending your existing product range can be an exciting and creative process. However, there are pitfalls that need to be avoided if you want it to go smoothly. Be prepared for technical and practical challenges that need to be overcome which in many cases aren’t helped by a language barrier or unsuitable manufacturing partner.

Here are our top 5 tips for developing a product – be it an entirely new class of product or tweaks to an existing one.

1. Be patient.

It always takes longer than you would expect. If you use project management software similar to Mindmap, you’ll know that it’s important to stick to deadlines and time targets but also remain flexible and open to unforeseeable changes. Remember, it’s always better to have it made right than to have it made right now!

2. Don’t get bogged down.

Plan the development so that when there is a delay or an issue that will require time to fix, you can work on other areas in tandem. Many problems can be resolved through the rest of the development process, or the solution may become clearer as you work on other aspects. Give yourself the flexibility to leave a problem and come back to it later.

3. Trust the process.

Sometimes getting a product right requires allowing the development process to play out. Remember, this is only true if you’re working with experts who know what they’re doing, whom you trust with your vision, and there is a clear direction and end-point in place for your product. Which brings us to…

4. Do your homework.

You really want to approach a factory with very clear requirements from the beginning. Try to gather as much information as possible before submitting a specifications document to a manufacturer or product development expert. This will help make whole the process smoother, but it will also help you solidify your own ideas about the product. Most importantly it will prevent the loss of time and money caused by unnecessary or unsatisfactory rounds of samples. Check out this post for more pointers on writing a good spec doc.

5. Cover yourself.

Wherever possible, remember to sign a confidentiality agreement with your supplier or agent to protect your designs and concepts, as well as researching copyright costs and patents. Protecting IPR in China is not easy, but it helps to perform thorough due diligence on your nominated supplier before you begin. You can also use a third party development company who is operating on your behalf.

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