The Phases of Hardware Product Development: From Concept to Shelf 


Product development in hardware design is a multifaceted process that extends beyond the purview of just the electrical engineering (EE) or RF teams. It is an intricate collaboration involving a diverse set of teams ranging from validation, mechanical product design, factory quality, reliability, to compliance. Each of these teams brings a unique perspective and set of skills to the table, ensuring a comprehensive approach to product development.


The product design team, predominantly composed of mechanical engineers, is entrusted with tasks such as designing enclosures, selecting connector types, and determining allowable board space and height. Their designs are typically guided by the specifications and vision provided by the industrial design team. On the other hand, the electrical engineering division comprises specialized units such as digital system EE, RF system EE, and other niche teams focused on areas like antenna design, power management, and validation. These teams work in tandem to bring the product's electronic aspects to life.

In essence, product development is not a solitary endeavor but a synergistic one.

The overarching program timeline is influenced by the product roadmap, with a single product's development generally spanning 1 to 2 years. Throughout this period, each development stage typically follows a build schedule ranging from 6 weeks to 3 months.

Hardware Build Schedule

Block Description

1. Development (Proof of Concept)

2. Proto (Prototype Design)

3. EVT (Engineering Validation Testing)

4. DVT (Device Validation Testing)

5. PVT (Production Validation Testing)

6. MP (Mass Production)

7. Shipment

8. On Shelf

9. Product Announcement

In Practice

Summary and Conclusion

From our examination, it's evident that hardware design usually has limited opportunities for iterations, and the timelines are invariably stringent. Once a product departs the factory, turning back is not an option. Thus, as diligent engineers, it's imperative to address all design modifications and conduct thorough validation testing early on, ensuring a smooth progression and mitigating potential complications in subsequent stages.