Our Product Design and Development Process and Services

What We Do?

If a current flows through it, we can design it 

If it can be programmed, we can program it 

If it can be machined, molded, cut or formed, we can do it

Product Development Process, Development Service Types, Ongoing Engineering  Support, Existing Product and Obsolescence Support Service,Reverse Engineering Service ,Mentoring Service

Product Development Process

Our development process begins with an initial, free call about your product. This call gives us an idea about what you want to achieve from a business and technical perspective, and gives you the opportunity to ask us any questions that you may have. At the end of the conversation we will be able to tell you if we are the right people for you. If we are a good fit, we can then proceed to do actual product development.

We will break the development process down into stages and give you a quote for each of the stages for which the work is well defined. Every product that we develop goes through the following stages:

1. Requirements definition and/or refinement - We deliver the requirements document for your review and sign off

2. Test plan development and/or refinement - We deliver the test plan for your review and sign off

3. Product Development and Testing - We deliver tested product for your approval

4. Work Product Delivery - All documents and files related to the product are assembled and delivered to you.

From an idea to mass manufacturing, the product may go through multiple iterations. These steps will be repeated for each iteration.

In our experience, from a completely new back-of-napkin idea to mass manufacturing it usually takes 3-5 iterations depending on the complexity of the product. On the other hand, a small change on an existing product usually takes only 1 iteration. A reason for multiple iterations is that many requirements and refinements become evident only when test users have the product in their hand and start using it. For overall success, it is important to recognize this reality and budget for it.

Our first step would be to ensure that there are requirements appropriate for your product development phase and company. These requirements can vary from a 2 page document for a quick, cheap prototype to a detailed requirements specification and a rigorous test plan for a product that is in its final phase of development and about to be mass produced by a contract manufacturer.

You may already have these requirements well defined. In this case we can skip the requirements definition step and work off of the existing requirements. In the past we have had clients come to us with

- Verbal requests to develop a small light box that does XYZ and costs less than $NN


- 300 page detailed requirements document with input signals, output signals, connectors, power consumption and environmental specification, a First Article Test (FAT plan) and a Functional Qualification Test (FQT) plan.

Risk Minimization

Each stage in our development process has defined deliverables and payment. This minimizes the risk for you as well as for us. At the end of each stage we give you all the work products. You are free to stop the work at any stage and have it done internally or elsewhere. On each stage we can work either hourly or on an "On Budget, On Time, Or it is Free" basis. More details are provided in the next section.

Development Service Types

We can develop your entire product or do the parts  for which you do not have in-house talent. We offer the following cost and schedule choices. You can mix and match any cost choice with any schedule choice.

Cost Choice 1: On Time On Budget Or It is Free

This is our signature service. No other development house in the world offers this. We are able to offer this because of our unique process and our decades of experience in the field.

This service is best for work which is well defined. The cost to you usually tends to be a little higher than if the work had been performed hourly. This is because we budget extra time and money so as to be able to account for unforseen circumstances and be able to guarantee the budget and timeline for you.

Cost Choice 2: Hourly with estimated but not guaranteed total cost

This is the best way where the work to be performed is not known and the requirements are changing. It also has the advantage of being lowest in overall cost.

Schedule Choice 1: Fastest Possible Development

We make all efforts to get you the product as soon as possible. This means that we pay the extra premium to expedite PCB fabrication, we have assembly people work overtime, parts are shipped Fedex priority overnight. We put off stuff in our personal lives so that your product gets done faster. All this comes at a cost but sometimes the situation demands it.

Schedule Choice 2: Lowest Cost Development

We recommend this for new ideas and products for which development time is not that critical. We give you the lowest cost possible and our short development time may still surprise you. Very often our lowest cost is the lowest total development cost you will find anywhere in the world. Outsourcing to low wage places may give you an hourly rate a third or a fourth of the equivalent rate in USA while adding aggravation and the cost of going across timezones. Our experience and development process usually saves client money by a factor of ten or more.

Schedule Choice 3: Balanced Cost and Schedule Development

We make trade offs between cost, schedule and risk in consultation with you. We advise you on all the aspects, suggest courses of action and take decisions so that your cost and schedule goals are met.

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Ongoing Engineering Support
You need Engineering but cannot afford full time EE, Mechanical, Software Support

You may want to consider our monthly retainer based services. You get a top notch team at a fraction of the cost of hiring a full time engineer and without a long term commitment.

A minimum commitment of 2 months is required to avail of these services. Also we consider these services to be long term commitments. Please give us a minimum of 1 month notice ifyou no longer need our services. 

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Existing Product and Obsolescence Support

You have a product out in the field and need to support this product. You need to provide bug fixes for clients, makes changes in response to client requests and make sure that the product can be manufactured. We offer a complete range of Obsolescence Management Services. Click here to learn more about Obsolescence Management and manage obsolescence for your product.

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Reverse Engineering Service

Do you need to support an existing product or integrate with a system for which you have incomplete or no documentation? Did you inherit a product  from an incumbent who decided to make life hard for you by not giving complete documentation? Do you need to do a tear down? We can help. We can reverse engineer the existing product, software application to discover the information that you need. 

We approach the reverse engineering process from multiple angles. We hook into communication protocols, analyze the object code (microcontroller or PC), sniff the wireless communications and  break open the product and examine its hardware and assembly. We currently do not have facilities in-house to examine silicon but can have that done at another facility.

We do not do illegal hacking. So if you are looking to break cable or satellite codes please do not contact us. Before we begin the reverse engineering process we require written proof that you are legally entitled to reverse engineer the product or break the communication protocol.

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Mentoring Services

You have a young team of freshly minted engineers. They are quite bright and sharp but need guidance to get things working in real life. We can be your experienced engineer checking out and advising your sharp but inexperienced talent.

Very often we are approached by fresh start ups with a bit of capital and a lot of bright eyed earnestness trying out an idea. Now the thing is no matter what is taught in school and speedy silver bullet seminars there are lots of gotchas waiting in real life. Here we have dealt with many of the gotchas and a few hours of our time at the start and concept phase can end up saving many hundreds or thousands of hours of futile design time. 

For such mentoring services we charge a fixed retainer of $8,000 per month. We will review your designs, be available for consultations and give you priority in our time slots if you need us to do work on the product. Quickly running an idea by us can save a lot of development time and money. 

An experienced member of our team will always be there to assist you. If you need systems design expertise, manufacturing assistance, or assistance with weird technical problems that are bogging you down call Ghostbusters. Just kidding, call us at 888-215-8557. We will answer your calls and emails within 24 hours.

You can cancel the retainer at any time.

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