Product Definition

Defining your product really entails getting all the ideas about your product out of your head and onto paper so that the teams needed to review, build and eventually mass manufacture your product will review, build and mass manufacture exactly what it is you have in mind.

Here’s some things you need to consider creating to develop your product and launch your hardware start-up:

Functional Specifications

Functional specifications describe the requested behavior and functional attributes of your product. This document typically describes what your product will do and how end users will interact with it. For more complex products, multiple levels of functional specifications will typically nest to each other, e.g. on the system level, on the module level and on the level of technical details.

Product Requirements Document

A product requirements document (PRD) is written to define your product. A PRD is often created after a MRD – market requirements document – has been written and is usually written before (or at least concurrently with) a technical requirements document. The PRD is designed to allow others outside of the designer/inventor/developer to understand what a product should do and how it should work. A PRD sometimes serves as a marketing requirements document as well, particularly if the product is small or uncomplicated.

Materials Specification/Bill of Materials

Your Materials Specification or bill of materials (BOM) is a list of the raw materials, sub-assemblies, intermediate assemblies, sub-components, parts and the quantities of each needed to manufacture your product. A BOM may be used for communication between manufacturing partners, or confined to a single manufacturing plant.

Drawings and Technical Files

Besides the generally descriptive documents above, if you are getting quotes for injection molded products or electronics, you will need to provide the necessary files that exactly define what is to be created. For tooling, 3D CAD files created by programs such as Solidworks or AutoCad are necessary. For PCB designs, the board layout in a Gerber file provides this definition. Patterns are used in cut-and-sew products and 2D files are often used for metals or wood.