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University of Colorado Boulder

Managing the New Product Development Process

University of Colorado Boulder via Coursera


This course covers the product development process in detail. With the opportunity defined, learners begin with ideation techniques such as Design Thinking to create new product concepts. Learners define the tools to create product specifications that meet customer requirements, then conceptualize different ways of meeting those requirements. Learners conclude by exploring prototyping and the techniques used to down-select to a concept that is then carried through launch. This course can be taken for academic credit as part of CU Boulder’s Master of Engineering in Engineering Management (ME-EM) degree offered on the Coursera platform. The ME-EM is designed to help engineers, scientists, and technical professionals move into leadership and management roles in the engineering and technical sectors. With performance-based admissions and no application process, the ME-EM is ideal for individuals with a broad range of undergraduate education and/or professional experience. Learn more about the ME-EM program at


  • Creativity and the Innovation Process
    • This course begins with an overview of topics and course structure. We then explore how to develop creativity within ourselves, as all product development efforts begin with ideas from individuals that see opportunities the rest of us don't. With a creative mindset, we can then begin ideating about product opportunities. Two methods are explored, Design Thinking, and Design-Driven Innovation. Design Thinking is all about understanding customer needs, whereas Design-Driven Innovation is all about understanding the meaning products have on people's lives. Both approaches are effective, yet both are quite different!
  • Market Research Techniques
    • If product development is all about solving real problems, we need to understand who, in fact, has these problems, as these people are our potential customers. In this module, we define customers, users, markets and market segments. We also define market size terms such as the TAM, SAM and SOM. Now its time to get specific, and create our Customer Persona, a detailed description of our target customer, enabling us to determine how many potential customers are in our target market.
  • CCRs, Product Requirements Matrix & Concept Generation
    • Understanding the customer's problems allows the product developer to begin thinking about solutions. That process starts with converting customer statements into customer needs, which become Critical Customer Requirements, or CCRs. This defines what the product must do to make the customer happy. Performance metrics are then established and a Product Requirements Matrix defines the most important CCRs, and some target values the product should meet. Finally, knowing what the product should do, it is time to be creative and come up with all the different product ways one can design a product to meet the CCRs, a process known as Concept Generation.
  • Concept Testing, Prototyping and the MVP
    • Successful concept generation creates many possible product designs, far too many to take forward. This module covers the techniques to downselect many designs to a few. From there, the product development team builds simple prototypes suitable to obtain customer feedback. The simplest of these is often called the Minimum Viable Product, or MVP. Customers can evaluate the MVP to see if the PD Team is on the right track - as MVPs don't cost much money or time to build. With greater confidence with the product concept, the team can build even more refined prototypes, ultimately enabling the final product concept to be defined.
  • Digital Prototyping
    • Thus far, the course have discussed physical products and physical prototyping. Yet many products are digital, such as digital apps or websites. Prototypes can be made for these products too, although the process is a bit different. In this module, the digital prototyping process is covered, culminating in a prototyping workshop showing students how to use online tools to create their own digital app prototype.

Taught by

Michael J. Readey, Ph.D.


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