Product Development Process
The product development process that I have the most experience with is a software engineering process developed at IBM called RUP (Rational Unified Process). This process is the backbone of the business outsourcing movement. It isn't a general design process, but rather the process one would start when creating a piece of software. Since I think we are ultimately talking about software development as the outcome of our design meetings, I think it is worthwhile to mention.
The benefit of RUP is that it is iterative, meaning that you don't have to fully spec-out a system ahead of time (whereas with a Waterfall approach
you have to complete the entire specification before beginning). Some of the key ideas with RUP are the following:
- Attack major risks early and continuously (things that could get you stuck)
- Accommodate change as early as possible in the project
- Stay customer driven
The major stages of the RUP process include the following: Inception, Elaboration, Construction and Transition. These stages can be hashed through several times throughout the life of the project
Inception: Is the project financially worthy? Is it feasible?
Elaboration: Addresses major risks, builds an early skeleton architecture of the system, and refine and evolves the project plans
Construction: Focuses on detailed design, implementation, and testing to flesh out a complete system
Transition: Fine-tuning of functionality, performance, and overall quality.
For more info you can visit the Wikipedia entry
or IBM RUP site