Guide to Product Development Life Cycle

This is another one where it seems like I just talked about this. The product development life cycle is really not complex at all. It’s a series of steps a product goes through from conception to mass user consumption. It varies in length, and some of them have more steps than others, or more clearly defined ones.

When looking at the product development life cycle at a more zoomed out resolution, you don’t see how complex and technical some of the things alongside different steps are, but that’s not important here anyhow.

The Problem:

The problem is that a life cycle for this varies. It’s also a lifecycle when a product is relaunched or refined, as well as when a product is invented and initially launched. So, the lead in will not entail every step I cover.

I will indicate to you where a relaunch or refinement would begin, in this cycle when we get that far. How’s that?


First, an idea for a product is conceived. Usually, an unfilled need is seen, or someone has a legitimate eureka moment. Other times, R&D labs dedicated to coming up with ideas are the ones whence new concepts spring.

After the idea is “on paper”, the concept is discussed, and usually discussed with focus groups as well, to see if the basic idea really is sound. After that, R&D goes to make a working prototype.


This is where both lifecycles have really begun. R&D will, as I said, make a working prototype. This will then be tested by focus groups and other facilities to see if it works in action as well as it did on paper.

Upon it proving viable, the refinement and engineering begins.


After the prototype proves viable, the final delivery form of the product is designed. Facilities to produce the product are also engineered to meet the needs. Around this time, marketing also begins its more aggressive period, though that’s really a separate department. Just be sure they know you’re at the implementation phase so they can take the cue to get busy.

Packaging and distribution are also worked out here.

Store Space:

Unless you’re selling it exclusively online from your own store front system, you need to secure shelf space for your product in retailers that carry applicable types of things. You can also shop for multiple online store fronts like eBay, Amazon and the like as well.

You can’t sell what customers can’t get to, after all.


Now the product is active. You’re watching its analytics and logistics, you’re listening online for user response, you’re polling users regularly, and following the general management lifecycle.

It does not disrupt until major product change or relaunch occurs, at which point you’re at the second form of this lifecycle mentioned above.


As you see, the product development life cycle really isn’t difficult to grasp. Naturally, you see how technical underlying steps in this really are when applied in the real world. So, this is really not a technical overview but merely a look at the basic steps a product goes through in order to be born or reborn. It can sound like a complex concept until someone takes you through it like this.


Mark Silver
Mark is the Lead Author & Editor of Spectechular Blog. Mark established the Spectechular blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Product Management.
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