Every day the phone rings with an aspiring designer looking for a way to build his or her product. The first, and foremost, point I stress to them is to be prepared for a long haul. While a skilled team can, and will, deliver a proto and samples quickly, the reality of 'quick-to-market' is rarely successful for a number of reasons.
First, designs need refinement. Often times the best laid plans don't end up being the best laid plans. Not a bad thing, just that after using the item for a while the designer found some useful additions, and subtractions, from the original form. Maybe the design itself sounded great, but functioned poorly. Or maybe, it just needed to be tested for durability.
Second, launch dates are great motivators, but often times they enforce the old adage that 'haste makes waste.' I believe it is good to have a goal, but more often than not folks rush to the finish line prematurely. In our opinion, the product will be mature for the market after it it is properly developed.
Third, be prepared. Prepare your vendors for your upcoming plans. Prepare your family members for your mood swings. Take copious notes, and record conversations for future reference. It will help making life easier knowing what can and can't be done. Keep production time lines in order, and remember that when everything is an emergency, it usually turns into an actual emergency, and will need a doctor to fix it.
Next week I'll lay out some planning tips for developing products that should shed some light on why good planning makes for good companies.