Product Development Directors
Exploring this Job
A part-time or summer job with a company that offers product development and management services is a good introduction to this field. This will give you opportunities to see the types of companies that hired product development specialists and see what's involved in this type of work. Ask your school's career services office for help with finding job listings. You can also conduct your own job search by looking for job listings on Web sites such as Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and SimplyHired, among others. Professional associations also offer helpful resources and information about careers in product development. For example, visit the career center of the Professional Development and Management Association's Web site to find jobs in product development and management, https://www.pdma.org/page/career_center. If there is a particular product category that interests you, keep up with developments in that area through online research and reading industry-related publications.
Product development directors are responsible for overseeing the development of various types of products and services. They may specialize in certain categories, such as automobiles, software programs, cosmetics, or even more specifically such as green cleaning products. They oversee other product development specialists, such as analysts, engineers, researchers, and marketers, ensuring the development steps move smoothly and efficiently from idea generation to product launch.
According to Entrepreneur.com, product development is defined as "the overall process of strategy, organization, concept generation, product and marketing plan creation and evaluation, and commercialization of a new product." Product development directors review product ideas, work closely with market researchers to determine if the ideas are cost-effective and viable for companies, and then present the ideas to the companies' managers, chief executives, board members, and/or other related decision-makers. They may also be involved in determining production costs and making sure the products are in accordance with design and quality specifications.
Product development directors oversee all of the development phases to ensure that deadlines are met each step of the way. They help establish the objectives of product development and coordinate the development schedules. They make sure the development team follows the established product development procedures and best practices. They may also be responsible for hiring, training, and guiding development team workers.