6.1.1 What are new product development methods?

To avoid development of a new product that will not be a success in a market and to minimise the costs of such a development, a NPD roadmap can be used.

Generally speaking NPD methods are tools providing a roadmap that can help companies and organisations to successfully develop new products or upgrade existing ones through a series of logical steps, starting from the process of idea generation and ending at the launch of the product into a market.

The most popular NPD method is called Stage-GateTM and contains a series of activities called “Stages” and control points between two stages called “Gates”. Each stage contains information and well-defined series of activities concerned with the particular stage of the development and each gate is a decision point where senior management can keep on or stop funding the process. In more detail, a stage contains all the information and tools that are needed to successfully complete the particular stage and a gate contains the required questions or specifications or mandates to which the results of the previous stage are compared to so that a go / kill or hold decision can be made.

Figure 1: Stage-Gate method roadmap1

Now stop and think if you have ever used this kind of procedure in your organisation while developing a new product or upgrading an existing one.

1 InnoSupport: Supporting Innovations in SME. 6.1 New product development methods, 2005