Product development problems in many organizations appear to stem from the basic dilemma of all innovators, namely the extent to which the product change process can be successfully formalized by the erection of organizational and planning structures. Invariably the complex range of endogenous and exogenous pressures moving the company to product review are only too clear to all concerned. What is not clear is the extent to which product policy should be programmed or allowed to emerge under short term competitive pressures. In many ways, this remains as one of the major areas of business operations which has successfully avoided the application of control techniques widely employed in other areas to solve similar problems. This paper attempts to review the principal types of product planning procedures available to the decision taker and to comment on some of the less apparent problems arising in the development of products. Product development is defined in its widest sense for this purpose and includes the planned introduction of products, intrinsically new, or new to the company concerned, and the substantial modification of existing products. It is important for this paper that these three categories be considered as variations within the same exercise and not as discrete problems. The difference is one of degree, not of substance.
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