Have a product you’re developing and need help? They are responsible for developing new products or improving existing products so that the company can meet customers’ needs more effectively.
part of a team, collaborating with marketing, technical and manufacturing specialists throughout the product-development process.
combines design, business and engineering skills to create products that meet both market and production requirements
Empathize – First
Market research and product research are the starting points for a product developer. By talking to customers and sales staff or visiting product review sites, product developers find out what customers want from a product, how they use it and why they prefer certain product features over others. Developers also assess competitors’ products to identify important features and compare performance with equivalent company products. Research helps developers identify the key requirements for a new product or a product upgrade.
Using the research findings, developers put together a product specification that includes a wish list of possible new features. They then consult with expert colleagues in engineering, finance and manufacturing departments to identify the features that can be incorporated within the cost and technical constraints. The marketing team will also have a view on the features that are most important to customers.
When the project team has agreed on the specification, the product developer carries out or supervises detailed design work, preparing working drawings and a prototype if required. The developer collaborates with engineering and technical specialists to ensure that the design takes advantage of the latest materials or technologies. A developer working on an industrial machine, for example, would aim to build in materials and components that reduce maintenance requirements and prolong machine life — benefits that would be important to customers.
At each stage of the project, the developers submit proposals and designs for review by the project team and other decision makers before moving to the next stage. This process ensures that the design continues to meet its marketing, technical and financial objectives. As the design is finalized, the developer prepares final cost estimates and detailed production specifications for the manufacturing team. In a small project team, the developer may also be involved in the product launch, working with sales and marketing professionals to plan the launch or helping to train the sales and customer service teams.
Case Study: CR Flight