Product Development Organization Structure

The Organizational Design of a Product Development Department: Definitions, Roles & Responsibilities

Product Development Organization Chart

Product Development Organizational Structure Outline

Product Development Organization Chart Template

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Product Development

Companies often see product development as the first stage of generating and commercializing a new product or service within the overall strategic process of lifecycle management. Product development is also used to maintain an existing product or grow current market share. Modern Product Development involves research, design, testing, positioning, differentiation and several other facets.

Common Product Development job titles: EVP/SVP of Product Development, Chief Product Officer

Engineering & Design

The Engineering & Design function works closely with the R&D and Market Research teams to identify the goals of the product or service and design a solution that will meet the defined consumer demand. The group develops detailed product specifications, builds prototypes (which are then evaluated by the product testing function) and continuously improves the design of the product until it is brought to market (and even after). In manufacturing-focused industries, engineers and product designers must ensure that the products they design can be manufactured on a large scale at a cost that will allow the company to turn a profit.

Common Engineering & Design job titles: Product Design Engineer, Product Development Engineer, Industrial Engineer/Designer

Idea Generation

The Idea Generation function is tied closely to R&D and is responsible for identifying market problems and devising ideas (concrete or abstract) to overcome the identified market gaps. Many companies have started to include job roles dedicated solely to the development of market 'disrupting' ideas. Idea Generation, or Innovation, team members assess and present ideas to company leadership in hopes of capitalizing on, or identifying, the 'next big thing.' After an idea has been selected for further development, other Product Development team members get to work designing prototypes and performing market testing to further assess the viability of the concept.

Common Idea Generation job titles: Innovation Analyst, Innovation Strategist

Product Management

The Product Management function oversees the development of new products and drives marketing strategy, branding, profit/revenue goals, product adjustments and market positioning across a company's line of products. Product Managers work closely with several areas, including marketing, engineering (in some cases), product development, research and sales, to maximize product revenue, market share and profit margin. They are responsible for managing products throughout their lifecycle and ensuring that the necessary adjustments are made to meet the goals (revenue, market share, profit margin targets, etc.) established by company management.

Common Product Management job titles: Product Manager, Product Management Associate, Product Support Manager

Product Packaging

Product Packaging employees are tasked with overseeing all aspects of product packaging - design, materials procurement, package testing and full-scale production. The team works closely with R&D to research, develop, test and validate new packaging solutions. The packaging group implements and tracks packaging cost savings (lower costs, standardization, flexibility, etc.) to meet budgets and goals set by management. They ensure packaging meets industry standards, best practices, company or regulatory requirements and consumer expectations.

Common Product Packaging job titles: Product Packaging Designer, Packaging Designer, Product Designer

Product Quality & Safety

The Product Quality & Safety function is responsible for assessing product quality and preemptively avoiding mistakes in the manufacturing process that could cost the company millions in lost materials and time (or even worse, cause a hit to customer satisfaction or public perception). Product Quality groups use statistical control as a tool to track quality data and prevent future errors. The group works with internal customers for testing and serves as a technical resource in regards to product specifications and manufacturing details. They may also work to mitigate risks associated with regulatory fines or consumer lawsuits.

Common Product Quality & Safety job titles: Product Quality Analyst, Quality Assurance Engineer, Quality Assurance Analyst

Product Testing

Product Testing employees are responsible for performing consumer tests and surveys to measure consumer demand and provide R&D and Engineering/Design staff with feedback on current product/service designs. They work to build focus groups and test audiences that are aligned with the demographic being targeted by a particular product or service. The Product Testing function may also perform internal tests to assess the viability of a product or service.

Common Product Testing job titles: Product Testing Analyst, Testing Specialist, Product Tester, Product Testing Engineer

Research & Development (R&D)

The R&D function is responsible for researching product requirements, limitations, intellectual property (IP) opportunities or constraints (patents, trademarks, trade secrets, etc.), technical specifications and other aspects vital to the development of a new idea or product offering. They report their findings to the product engineering/design and product management groups.

Common Research & Development (R&D) job titles: Market Research Analyst, Research Associate, R&D Analyst