My Book: Prototype to Product

Prototyope to Product: A Practical Guide to Getting to Market (O’Reilly Media) is a 400-page holistic guide to the product development process, from product concept through the manufacturing process.

Prototype to Product, English Edition Book Cover
English Edition
Prototype to Product, Chinese Edition Book Cover
Chinese Edition

‍From the preface:

“This book’s goal is to help the reader to gain a better understanding of the “stuff” that happens along the way when great ideas metamorphose into great products—in particular, intelligent products with embedded electronics and software—and to supply strategies and tactics to make that “stuff” go more smoothly.” …

The ‘why’ behind this book is simple and selfish: it’s a book I’ve wished I had for years. Something that I can hand to team members, customers, and vendors to review those topics that come up time and time again, and to do it in an orderly and comprehensive way that gets everyone on the same page, and hopefully the right page.”

Prototype to Product is not particularly intended to, say, help an electrical engineer to better understand electronics. Rather, it’s intended to help all of the various participants to better understand how their work fits within the entire effort, so they can do a better job of fulfilling project needs. For example, it can help a software developer to understand how to work more effectively with electrical engineers, designers, marketers, and other stakeholders. 

When team members are able to better support each other, product development progresses at a faster pace. . For example, if an electrical engineer recognizes from the start that they’ll need to accommodate factory configuration and testing, they can support this by adding appropriate connectors, test pads, circuitry, and so forth. Conversely, if this support isn’t added until later, it can result in expensive and time-consuming updates to the circuit design — exactly the kind of situation that disrupts budgets and timelines.

The book also contains tips on important aspects of development that can help avoid headaches later in the life cycle, e.g., software licensing and maintenance, contract manufacturing, and supply chain.

Since Prototype to Product is written at a high level, its content is reasonably timeless, even while specific technologies change. 

The main sections of the table of contents are listed below, a more detailed table of contents including subsections can be found here.

1. The 11 Deadly Sins of Product Development
2. Development Process Overview
3. How Electronic Products Are Manufactured
4. Preliminary Planning: Can This Be a Success?
5. Detailed Product Definition
6. Detailed Development
7. Smart Platforms: Processors
8. Smart Platforms: Operating Systems
9. Powering Our Product
10. Staying Safe: Regulations, Standards, Etc.
11. Writing Requirements That Work
12. Meta-Stuff: Project Planning and Infrastructure

Prototype to Product is not particularly aimed at medical device development; however, product development is at the core of medical device development, so all of the material is applicable.