Tom Mofford, Project Manager, Engineering
At Columbia Tech, we understand the dynamic challenges that can come up during any new product development project. As a new product comes to life from concept to commercialization, meeting our client’s objectives is critical to our success and theirs. In order to ensure we can fulfill each client’s objectives in the dynamic product development environment, we have found that following a structured phase gate development process provides the necessary foundation and roadmap to bring a product to market at WARP SPEED.
Columbia Tech empowers our clients to engage at any phase in the development process based on the state of their product or documentation. Each of the phases below can be tailored to meet a client’s specific needs. Generally, a full product development project would consist of four phases:
- Phase 0 – Definition, Concept Development, and Feasibility
- Phase 1A – Detailed Design and Alpha Prototype
- Phase 1B – Iterated Design and Beta Prototype
- Phase 2 – Pilot Production
As we progress through each phase of the development process, we have a specified minimum set of documentation necessary to be completed prior to progressing to the next phase. Concentrating on the necessary documents in each phase allows for the engineering effort in future phases to be more efficient and effective.
Phase 0 is an important foundational stage in the product development cycle. It is important to generate clear comprehensive requirements which will become a basis for design and future verification testing. This mutually agreed set of requirements ensures clarity and focus in the detailed design of phase 1A.
Phase 1A is focused on execution of the plan developed in phase 0 and includes all detailed documentation from the individual engineering disciplines in order to procure, fabricate, assemble, and test an alpha prototype(s). Based on the outcome of the phase 1A prototype(s), phase 1B can be executed to refine the design as needed. The beta prototype can be comprised of additional units or rework of the alpha units.
During phase 2, as pilot units are produced and we prepare for scalable manufacturing, the documentation package refined throughout the phase gate process is completed. This documentation set becomes the building blocks to successfully transition a product to manufacturing through our proprietary Scaled Product Launch (SPL™) process.
Following this structured phase gate approach is something we practice diligently and is a proven method to help bring a client’s product to market at WARP SPEED.