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Just having an idea does not result in a successful product launch, it is the first step to getting started. Once a market validation is done and a first customer identified we can then start the product development process. To develop a product, we need to take four simple steps. These are proof of concept, prototype, pilot and production units.
Proof of Concept (POC) and Prototype
As previously we had covered POC and Prototype we will just capture from that article these two and focus more on the next two.
POC is a small exercise to test the design idea or assumption. The main purpose of developing a POC is to demonstrate the functionality and to verify a certain concept or theory that can be achieved in development. Prototyping is a valuable exercise that allows the innovator to visualize how the product will function, it is a working interactive model of the end product that gives an idea of the design, navigation and layout. While a POC shows that a product or feature CAN be developed, a prototype shows HOWit will be developed.
A pilot run is done with a small group of users to get their feedback about the product before going into production. The purpose of doing this is to avoid failure at the production step. By doing a pilot, we will save time and cost and also by doing this, we will be able to ensure the product is of market requirement.
A pilot is done with a selected group who have an interest, expertise in this type of product. The outcome of a pilot will help the innovator as it would have given a good understanding of the product is serving the purpose it was originally thought of. The pilot helps to also validate the market needs and challenges with respect to the product. It gives the innovator a chance to make corrections before going to production. Several pilots might be required to ensure the product is ready for production.
Successful pilots often result in production failure if these pilots are not conducted with the right group. Sometimes the pilotting is done with a bias group and hence the outcome is not useful for production and therefore, it is critical to ensure pilots are conducted and managed without biases.
Once the pilots are conducted successfully we are now ready to enter the world of production. Just like any other activities, this too has its challenges. Some of the challenges are uniformity of the product, consistent quality and regulatory compliances. There are different types of productions. The types of production are continuously used in automobile line, batch used in a clothing line and one off used in the specialist product. This step is the most exciting step as it now reaches a larger audience. And once it reaches a large audience we would start getting customer feedback sometimes positive many times negative. We need to be prepared to deal with the negative feedback so we are able to make the product a successful one.
In conclusion, getting a product to this stages require lots of effort, patience and money but it would be a rewarding experience to see our product used by a large audience.