Module Note | May 2003

Product Development Process Design and Improvement

by Stefan H. Thomke


Describes the conceptual foundations and pedagogy for a module on the design and improvement of processes for the development of products and services. Can also be used as part of a more general course on Managing Technology and Innovation. Central to Managing Product Development and emphasized particularly is the premise that every company's ability to develop new products and services depends on a process of experimentation and learning. Investigates the core aspects of such development processes and presents the new technologies dedicated to improving experimentation. Simply knowing what users will want--which is not simple in itself--is not enough. The product development process, including its ability to carry out experimentation successfully, must be designed (and improved) to accommodate customer information. A pivotal component, introduced in the first module, is how experimentation is being transformed by new technologies that can enhance its potential for innovation.

Keywords: Product Development; Design; Performance Improvement; Innovation and Management; Technology; Customers; Information Management; Business Processes; Learning; Transformation; Service Operations;


Thomke, Stefan H. "Product Development Process Design and Improvement." Harvard Business School Module Note 603-090, May 2003.