Product Development Processes

The product development process (PDP) brings a product to the marketplace from planning to production. While some organizations still describe their PDP in documents, leading engineering companies have achieved significant improvements by transitioning to a model-based PDP.

This model-based PDP approach has been realized using Stages across automotive, aerospace, medical device, transportation, and other engineering-driven industries. The following five key practices have shown to be critical for the success of such a transformation.


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Digitize Processes

The core idea of process digitization is to transform all process documents into an easily accessible process model. It is critical to create a stable architecture that integrates all necessary process areas and to follow a consistent meta-model for defining the processes.

Process digitization eliminates duplicates, inconsistencies, unnecessary variants, and retired or obsolete information. One leading aerospace tier 1 supplier is now operating with 66% less procedures and making huge efficiency gains without sacrificing quality or standard compliance.

Follow Value Streams

Focus on the most important value streams within product development, define the deliverables that capture that value, and model the detail processes to create those deliverables. This approach significantly reduces the number of process steps and work products compared to traditional document-based processes.

With this approach, companies first identify the most important value streams within their product development, define the work products representing tangible value, and only then model the detailed processes that create these work products. This procedure significantly reduces the number of process steps and work products compared to conventional, document-based processes.

This enabled some organizations to shorten their cross-functional process flows – in case of a global top 5 medical device manufacturer by up to 33% – leading to earlier product validations and shorter time to market.

Introduce Standard Work

Organizations that grew quickly either organically or through mergers and acquisitions tend to employ many different methods and tools to achieve the same process results. Not only creates this a high variance in outputs, but also incurs high costs on tool licenses and maintenance.

By adopting a “tools follow process” approach, organizations can standardize their work, greatly reduce the number of tools and applied methods, and significantly lower costs and number of integration points.

One automotive OEM that previously used over 400 tools for its product development was able to reduce that number to less than 80 by using this approach.

Map to Standards

In many cases, proving standard compliance is manual and labor-intensive work. Some organizations even defined disconnected processes for regulated areas like functional safety, cyber security, or reliability on top of their already existing product development procedures.

By defining a unified product development process and mapping the requirements of relevant standards and regulations onto those process assets, organizations were able to efficiently find compliance gaps and generate evidence for audits and assessments instead of collecting them manually.

Several organizations acting in regulated environments using this approach reported over 50% reduction in efforts preparing for and conducting audits or assessments.

Continuously Incorporate Feedback

Almost all product development work is executed by humans. Theoretical processes are either ignored or lead to frustration amongst the engineers. A high process acceptance is critical for the success of every PDP transformation.

Leading engineering organizations are constantly asking their employees, clients, and suppliers for feedback and optimize their processes as a result. Monitoring process usage and behavior uncovers additional insights resulting in process improvements.

By using an integrated process management solution, one of the largest aerospace companies was able to achieve a 4x speed-up capturing, implementing, and deploying process changes.

Our Solution


Stages has successfully been used in large scale PDP transformation projects to implement all five key approaches within a single process management platform and achieve

  • reduced product development overhead and time to market
  • higher quality of developed products
  • increased business agility


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Product Development Processes - Webinar Series

5 Reasons to Transform Product Development Processes (PDP)

Streamline Engineering with a model-based PDP

Date: May 13th, 2020

Times: 10:00am EDT, 4:00pm CEST

What you will learn:

  • A model-based PDP approach and its benefits for your product development
  • Practical experience gathered in process rollouts across automotive, aerospace, and medical device industries
  • How to achieve a reduction of up to 66% in procedures, shorter time to market, faster proficiency in new methods and tools, and reduced compliance efforts and overall costs


  • Erich Meier, CTO at Method Park
  • Jeffrey Brehm, Managing Director at Accenture Consulting


Watch Recording

PLM and Process Practices in Automotive

Transforming Product Development

Date: May 27th, 2020

Times: 10:00am EDT, 4:00pm CEST

What you will learn:

  • Benefits of a harmonized PLM & process management system
  • Why ease the user/engineer is key to success
  • How to turn the system from a “tool for aid” towards a focal point of applied knowledge and best practices in global product development


  • Craig Brown, Principal Consultant at Method Park
  • Erich Meier, CTO at Method Park


Watch Recording

Agile Product Development in Automotive

Creating a strong foundation for your transformation journey

Date: June 17th, 2020

Times: 10:00am EDT, 4:00pm CEST

What you will learn:

  • Challenges for hardware- and requirements-driven organizations when it comes to agile transformation
  • Distinguish between challenges related to foundational building blocks of the transformation and industry-specific challenges
  • How to create a strong foundation for your agile transformation journey


  • Alena Keck, Lean Agile Enterprise Transformation Manager at Aptiv
  • Erich Meier, CTO at Method Park


Watch Recording

PDP in Practice

Creating a Model-based Process for Product Development

Date: July 8th, 2020

Times: 10:00am EDT, 4:00pm CEST

What you will learn:

  • Benefits of a common process framework for all business units of a large enterprise, not just engineering but program management, styling, manufacturing, etc.
  • How to orchestrate or manage all the interfaces between these groups
  • What needs to be done? How is it done? Why is it done? When is it needed? Who is responsible?


  • William Bolander, Principal Consultant at Method Park
  • Craig Brown, Principal Consultant at Method Park


Watch Recording