Glossary of Product Development Terms

Here are some common Product Development termnologies:


  • A/B Testing (aka Split Testing): A method of comparing two versions of a webpage or app against each other to determine which one performs better. A/B testing uses data and statistics to validate new design changes in order to improve the conversion rates. See also Multivariate Testing.

  • Alpha Testing: It takes place at the developer's end by the internal team, before release to external customer. It serves as a form of internal acceptance test.


  • Balanced Scorecard: A comprehensive performance measurement technique that considers four areas of performance in a balanced way:1) customer perspective: how customers see us, 2) internal perspective: what we must excel at, 3) innovation & learning: how we continue to improve and create value, and 4) financial perspective: how we meet shareholder needs.

  • Benchmarking: Benchmarking is a process in which a company compares its performance and practices against one or more organizations. The objective is to identify best practices that will help improve business performance results.

  • Beta Testing: It is the last stage of testing, and normally can involve sending the product to beta test sites outside the company for real-world exposure or offering the product for a free trial. It typically comes after Alpha Testing as a second level, external pilot test of a product.

  • Brainstorming: A creativity technique in which a group of people think of ideas related to a particular topic, listing as many possible ideas as possible before any critical evaluation of the ideas is performed.

  • Brand: A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. The legal term for brand is trademark. A brand may identify one item, a family of items, or all items of that seller.

  • Business Case: The business case records the justification for starting a project. It describes the benefits, costs and impact, plus a calculation of the financial case.

  • Business Case Stage/Phase: A stage is intended to flesh out the product concept into a winning product definition, and to develop a sound basis for taking the project into the development stage. The major activities during this stage include a cross-functional team working together in building a robust business case. It includes thorough market, technical, manufacturing, financial, risk, and legal assessments.

  • Business-to-Business (B2B): It refers to the exchange of products, services or information between businesses.

  • Business-to-Consumer (B2C): is business or transactions conducted directly between a company and consumers who are the end-users of its products and/or services.

  • Business Process Reengineering: Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is the analysis and redesign of workflow within and between entities of the organizations.


  • Commercialization: is the process to taking a new product from development to full volume sales. It includes steps such as testing and market validation, production launch and ramp-up, development of marketing programs and materials, supply chain development, sales channel development, training development, training, and service and support development.

  • Continuous (volume) Production: Production system used for large-scale mechanized production of products. It is economical because of the high numbers of products produced. There is little need to adjust machinery and processes, which produces a time benefit.

  • Critical Success Factors: Fact-based success derived from the many research studies that have probed new product performance, both successes and failures.

  • Cross-functional Team: A group of individuals with different functiaonal expertise from different areas of an organization working toward a common goal.

  • Cycle Time: The length of time to deliver a new product, from idea to commericalization.


  • Deliverables: Key information requirements that are necessary to enable the Gatekeepers (or decision-makers) to make good decisions. The team leader and team members are responsible for bringing the required deliverables to the gate.

  • Design and Development Plan (DDP): A document used to describe how the new product will be developed and includes elements such as key activities, responsibilities, timing, interfaces between different groups.

  • Design Review: A documented systematic review of the design.

  • Design Freeze: The point in product development when the design is considered ‘done’ and the design is captured as a baseline. In medical devices, changes to the design after this point are tracked and evaluated for impact to meeting intended use, design inputs, and risk management controls.


  • Emotional Appeal: The feelings experienced by a user of a product that involve a sense of well being or provides an emotional experience. To make a person feel an emotional connection when they purchase or own a product and that cost or function are of lesser importance than feelings associated with the ownership of the product.

  • End User: In product development, an end user is a person who ultimately uses or is intended to ultimately use a product. The end user stands in contrast to users who support or maintain the product, such as sys ops, system administrators, database administrators, or technicians. End users typically do not possess the technical understanding or skill of the product designers.

  • Ergonomics: The application of scientific information about the interaction and relationship of human beings to the design of objects, systems and work and recreational environments. Ergonomics is an important consideration in product design to ensure a product fits the person or worker, reduces the risk of injury or fatigue and improves performance.


  • Function: Related to a product it means that the product is able to perform a particular task or job that it was designed for or is expected to do. The actions and activities assigned to or required or expected of a product.


  • GANTT Chart: A type of bar chart that represents a schedule of activities or milestones over the time of the project. It shows the start and finish dates for each process or step and is used to pinpoint and assign priorities so that work is completed by a due date.

  • Go-to-market strategy: A go-to-market strategy (GTM strategy) is an action plan that specifies how a company will reach customers and achieve competitive advantage. The purpose of a GTM strategy is to provide a blueprint for delivering a product or service to the end customer, taking into account such factors as pricing and distribution. A GTM strategy is somewhat similar to a business plan, although the latter is broader in scope and considers such factors as funding.


  • Human-centred design (aka Customer-centred design): Designing products to ensure the needs, safety and comfort of the people they are made for come first or are always taken into consideration.


  • Ideation/Idea Generation: A systematic process which guides the ongoing generation of new product ideas. New opportunities are routinely identified or discovered in the form of new markets, new products and new businesses.

  • Intellectual Property (IP): Intellectual property is generated through intellectual or creative activity. Types of intellectual property protection include patents, trade marks, design registration,confidential information/trade secrets, copyright, circuit layout rights, etc.


  • Lean Manufacturing: Lean manufacturing or lean production is a system and culture which aims at maximizing the output of a manufacturing process with minimal inputs with the help of many lean techniques and tools. It aims at reducing work in progress, downtime, build up of excess raw materials, finished goods, and all waste.

  • Life Cycle Analysis (LCA): Assessing a product's full environmental cost/impact over the life cycle of the product (cradle to grave or cradle). This includes extracting and processing materials, manufacturing, transporting and distribution, use, reuse and maintenance, recycling and final disposal. Quantifies the environmental impact rather than the financial impact.

  • Low-Volume Production: Batch or low-volume production systems to produce a small number of items over a given time frame.


  • Metrics: A prescribed set of measurements used to track performance. Metrics can be used to measure project, business, and process performance.

  • Multivariate Testing: A technique for testing a hypothesis in which multiple variables are modified. The goal of multivariate testing is to determine which combination of variations performs the best out of all of the possible combinations. In multivariate test, you identify a few key areas/sections of a page and then create variations for those sections specifically (as opposed to creating variations of whole page in an A/B split test). So for example, in multivariate test you can choose to create different variations for 2 different sections: headline and image. A multivariate testing software will combine all these section specific variations to generate unique versions of page to be tested and then simply split traffic among those versions.


  • One-off Production: A single, often handcrafted article. It can be expensive to make due to the cost of labor, but is usually the only one in existence.


  • Post Launch Review (PLR): The post launch review provides the details for a retrospective analysis on the project. It serves as an opportunity to evaluate the success of the new product and/or service, and the effectiveness of the Stage-Gate process. Each team member completes specific surveys and information about monitoring and improving chances of success.

  • Product Management: is an organizational lifecycle function within a company dealing with the planning, forecasting, and production, or marketing of a product or products at all stages of the product lifecycle.

  • Product Roadmap: A product roadmap is a plan that matches short-term and long-term business goals with specific technology solutions to help meet those goals. Roadmapping is the exercise of building a product roadmap. Roadmaps can apply to new products or services or existing offerings.

  • Profit and Loss (P&L): A financial statement that summarizes the revenues, costs and expenses incurred during a specific period of time, usually a fiscal quarter or year. The basic calculation of "money in / money out" in a project or a business.


  • Readiness Check: The readiness check is completed by the Project Leader and reviewed by the Process Manager prior to the gate meeting. It ensures that key activities have been completed in accordance to the quality required. These activities must be reviewed for quality prior to the scorecard evaluation.

  • Research and Development (R&D): A business function that conducts research, design, and engineering work of the product development process.


  • Scorecards: A set of measures upon which the project is judged. Projects are rated consistently using a number of key criteria based on rating scales. The ratings are then added together to yield an overall project score so that projects can be ranked-ordered against each other or compared against a minimum acceptable score.

  • Stage-Gate Process: A value based roadmap for driving product innovation projects from idea concept to launch and beyond.

"Whatever the problem, be part of the solution." -- Tina Fey

#NPD #ProductManagement #NewProductDevelopment #Glossary

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