In this final talk from “How Best To Manage Physical Products”, Fergus Christie from the Product Development Centre (PDC) talks about going “From Ideas to Reality”, and the attention to detail require to make products – particularly physical products – a reality. Specifically, he reiterates a simple but critical idea – that the process of creating a Product Design Specification, and having product specifications that are as fine-grained and detailed as possible, is absolutely key to creating successful physical products.
To illustrate the point, there’s an impressively varied list of both successful and less-than-successful product case-studies, highlighting where a lack of attention to detail resulted in a product that didn’t satisfy the users’ needs, or else failed in some other (occasionally spectacular!) fashion. The key things to capture in your product specifications are the intent of the product, the development objectives, and any constraints. In the case where you have a manufacturing or design team who are not fully integrated into the product team, the challenge is sharing as much of your domain expertise as is necessary with them to be able to understand the constraints and requirements!
Assuming you get the product specs right and have some workable designs, Fergus has one more piece of solid advice: Prototyping is an absolutely essential step when you’re creating a new product, as there is no substitute (especially with a physical product) to actually touching and holding it!
The main thing to take-away from this video is that a good product is built with a detailed understanding of how it’s going to be used, what needs it has to satisfy, and what it’s constrained by. Without those, you’re relying on luck. Can you articulate those – in detail – for the products you’re working on?