What are the stages of product design projects?

Product design project management

Have you ever felt design projects become boring and the project which is supposed to be fun and exciting has lost its charm and feels like a rut? It happens when we lost track and/or have improper milestones or we may have an unclear picture of stages of product design.

Hi, I am Prakhar and today we’ll talk about the stages of our product design projects.

As a research and design person, I have to be in constant touch with production/manufacturing, graphic designers, industrial designers, and marketing. There is a constant bombardment of ideas and constraints each and every department has. This remains fun when things go smoothly but the same coordination becomes hell if things go south.

Every project has different stages and each stage comes with its fun as well as challenging moments.

Phase 1 – Idea stage

The idea stage is the most demanding stage for a project manager. It is the stage when there is white canvas and there is nothing scarier than white canvas. The freedom of thinking and doing anything leads to doing nothing.

Again my favorite pen-paper exercise comes in handy. Just jot down a few ideas and create the skeleton of the project and add some constraints to it.

Phase 2 – Research stage

Start with the basic research and at this stage, I need visual elements. How my product will look and what elements I need to incorporate. I usually use the OneNote application to create my canvas.

At this stage, I start to look for the resources we might be needing.

Phase 3 – Onboarding stage

At this point I look for the resources and the skills we will be needing for this project or product.

This is the stage where I have to present the idea and the plan visually to every stakeholder so that the team is on the same page. Frankly speaking at this stage no one understands the idea fully and everyone is on a different page but they are all in the same book.

Phase 4 – Assigning the task stage

This is the stage that let everyone come to the same page. In this stage, everyone starts doing things and understanding the project and product in depth. At this point, the team has a lot of questions about the right direction. For answering these questions your research comes in handy. These answers are very crucial.

When the team starts to work on it and immerses itself for one week, then the magic starts to happen. Keep in mind that this is not when you can retract yourself. This is the phase where I start focusing on getting everything documented. The more the things team is documenting better the clarity will be.

At this point, I start taking the weekly progress reports and planning for the upcoming week.

Phase 5 – Thrusters on full stage

Now I can relax a bit and focus on creating exact milestones which can be achieved. Here I have a lot of data about projects, products, team reports, and research data. At this stage review process starts and I start to look for ‘why’ in every aspect of the product.

Phase 6 – First design stage

After the hard and dedicated work of your team, it is time for the first design. Do the internal review and tweak things accordingly.

Now you have to arrange a meeting with different departments to present it and get feedback. Tweak them and redo the presentation.

Phase 7 – First product stage

Sometimes you can prototype and check the form and functions, but at times you can not do an exact prototype so skip to manufacturing trials. Here you will get your first product. I generally review the first product from the user experience point of view and the manufacturing process quality point of view.

Phase 8 – Production stage

This stage starts giving you the real picture of how it will be done in real production. The product design completes at this stage. Because if you can not translate your design into production then there is no point in that design.

Phase 9 – Upgradation/New product stage

Now it is time to upgrade the product or start a new product design cycle.


In conclusion, product design can be fun if we adhere to these stages and maintain two things properly. First, it is bite-size tasks with proper timelines and the second is proper documentation of work along with proper reporting.

Learn more about different kinds of products and whether can you make a career.

Let me know how you manage your projects?

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