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Development Guidelines
Post Office Box 235
Fort Garland, CO
81133-0235 USA
Direct (719) 206 - 2223

Development Process Guidelines

Colorado Digital Labs has been involved with many projects and no two have followed the same development path. Each came with a different set of requirements, specifications, customer expectations and culture. Our goal is to deliver a development plan that is tuned to their resources and schedules. Each development effort was accomplished under a project management plan either in place or created specifically for the job. Please refer to the Project Management page for more about this topic.

Every product development effort needs a structured process to get a cost effective result. We use Concurrent Engineering (CE) and Integrated Product Development (IPD) practices to maximize available resources and keep development times as short as possible. In every case, we always use Design For Manufacturing (DFM) best practices to minimize production costs.

The two essential issues required when beginning a new development effort are defining the requirements of the end product and firmly committing to a budget adequate enough to get the resources needed for the job. Others include the schedule and specific, realistic deliverables based on that schedule. The type of product and the target customer will determine any additional information needed to create initial product specifications. These specifications should allow for changes as requirements get refined. If some requirements remain undetermined, evaluation prototypes can be created to try different versions of the product concept.

Depending on the type of product being developed and the market in which it will be sold, it is critical to identify all applicable regulatory standards the product must comply with. Regulatory compliance ensures that the product conforms to all the required standards that apply. Evidence of this compliance is provided by marks or labels on the products which identify the standard(s) and the agency (UL, CE, FCC, TUV, ETL etc..) involved in issuing the certification marks, listing number or badges. A recommended element of regulatory compliance is a total quality management (TQM) system like the one outlined by the ISO-900X standards. While TQM systems are not mandatory, we highly recommended that such a system be established if one is not already in place.

When the requirements of the product are finalized, design specifications are created which define the individual components and assemblies of the end product. These apply to all hardware, software and mechanical elements required to build and test it. Initial pre-production units are then created to assure everything fits and works together and final testing can begin. Regulatory compliance evaluation may be required using third party test labs depending on how it functions and its intended end use.

During the design phase of development, it is critical to work closely with manufacturing resources to identify any conflicts which may increase production costs or delays. If the product is to be manufactured overseas, component selection is critical as parts easily obtained here may be unavailable or prohibitively expensive and vise versa. The realities of global supply chain issues can significantly impact where a product can be manufactured, or not.

If the product is programmable or uses code in any way, it's important to consider how internal devices will be programmed during manufacturing. If the code is firmware and located in programmable parts, the part vendor or distributor can usually program the devices before shipment. If the devices are OTP (One Time Programmable), then a letter of acceptance is required from the customer stating that the firmware has been tested and accepted. Upon acceptance, a release to production notice authorizes OTP parts to be programmed in quantity. In most other application, the products are programmable through dedicated ports or other means and changes to the code are easily accomplished. In these cases, the product can be programmed during manufacturing or testing.

Once the product is in production, Colorado Digital Labs provide ongoing technical support to our clients for as long as it's needed