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The Phases of the Hardware Product Development Lifecycle

Key Takeaways

  • Hardware product development starts with an idea and ends with a real product. 

  • The hardware product development lifecycle describes the processes or actions that must be done over the course of real hardware product development. 

  • The hardware product development lifecycle can be divided into seven phases: Requirements or ideation→ Design→ Manufacturing→ Testing→ Distribution→ Use and maintenance→ Disposal. 

Hardware product development lifecycle

Hardware development can be challenging, as there are several steps that designers go through in order to launch a quality product. The hardware product development lifecycle includes the idea creation, design, engineering, and validation phases involved in new product development. The decisions made during the hardware product development lifecycle can determine the cost-effectiveness of the process and mitigate any technical or non-technical difficulties encountered. This article will explore the various phases of hardware product development. 

Hardware Product Development

The hardware product development process begins with the raw idea of a product and ends once that product is produced. Hardware product development may begin with or without a formal roadmap; however, without a proper plan, designers may run out of money, go past deadlines, or face unseen difficulties due to economic changes, company policies, or competitor influence. To create a  successful product for the electronics market, it is best to follow a strictly disciplined process called product lifecycle management (PLM). PLM covers all aspects of hardware product development, including specification, research, design, manufacturing, sales, and maintenance.

Product development teams have to balance many tasks and priorities at once. They must design and develop outstanding products that meet all requirements. At the same time, they must ensure their products minimize manufacturing costs and are manufactured to meet deadlines. A tiny mistake in any step of the hardware product development process can cost money, time, or both. That is why most engineers adhere to the standard hardware product development lifecycle in order to ensure efficient and effective hardware product development.

The Hardware Product Development Lifecycle

There are seven different phases in the hardware product development lifecycle:

Requirements or ideation→ Design→ Manufacturing→ Testing→ Distribution→ Use and maintenance→ Disposal

Engineers are most involved during the first four phases of the hardware product development lifecycle–from ideation to testing. We will explore each of these four phases next. 

Ideation, Design, Manufacturing, and Testing 

Ideation or Requirements Phase

The ideation or requirements phase is the initial phase of the hardware product development lifecycle. The ideation phase starts by defining the scope of the problem and ends with a proof of concept prototype. This phase recognizes the demand for the product to be developed and defines its specifications. The technical specifications, manufacturing guidelines, testing procedures, and other conditions and constraints are determined in this phase. 

Design Phase

In the hardware product development lifecycle, the design phase involves creating the course plan for meeting the specifications defined in the requirements stage, including functional prototyping. While the requirements define what a product’s purpose is, the design specifies how the product will fulfill that purpose.

Manufacturing Phase

A final hardware product is fabricated and assembled during the manufacturing phase. The manufacturing phase ensures the development of a reliable product that meets the specific design requirements in a cost-effective way. 

Testing Phase

The testing phase ensures the performance and functionality of a hardware product through systematic assessment. Testing may range from an in-depth examination using specialized tools to ad hoc testing and basic validation. Testing may occur at multiple points in the hardware product development lifecycle.

Each phase in the hardware product development lifecycle has a distinct purpose, set of goals, and exit criteria. If you are designing a hardware electronics product, Cadence’s suite of design and analysis tools can help you with the development process. Cadence tools offer a full range of product lifecycle management functionalities that can ensure data effectivity to optimize your design and manufacturing processes.

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