In the exciting world of product development, your finished product often takes center stage. But behind the scenes there are a myriad of moving parts, decisions, and relationships. One of these relationships is the one you have with your product development partner. The new product development partnership is crucial to the success of your product and time to market.

Pivot International is a proven product development partner with over 50 years in business. We help our customers design, develop, and manufacture award-winning products. We know firsthand how important developing and maintaining good working relationships with our customers can be, and we wanted to share our insights on this crucial and often underestimated part of the product development process.

product development partnership

The Power of a Strong Partnership

A strong relationship with your product development partner goes beyond technical expertise. It’s about building trust, open communication, and a shared vision for your product. The best product development partnerships are formed when both companies, respectively, are experts in their own fields. They truly complement one another’s skills. Here are a few major benefits a product development partner can bring to your business:

Expertise and Innovation: A reputable development partner brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the table. Their insights can catalyze innovation, helping you refine and transform your ideas into market-ready solutions.

Resource Optimization: Collaborating with a product development partner allows you to leverage their resources, including specialized skills, technologies, and facilities. This partnership optimizes resource allocation, enabling you to focus on your core competencies while entrusting product development to capable hands.

Speed to Market: In today’s fast-paced business environment, time is of the essence. A strong partnership accelerates the product development process, reducing time-to-market and giving you a competitive edge. An established partner will already have the infrastructure and processes in place to allow for a smooth transition from concept to design and into production.

Risk Mitigation: Working closely with a trusted partner minimizes the many inherent risks associated with product development. Sharing responsibilities and expertise enables you to navigate challenges more effectively and mitigate potential setbacks.

Long-term Success: Building a solid relationship with your product development partner fosters mutual trust and collaboration. This foundation is essential for long-term success, as it paves the way for ongoing innovation, product evolution, and market adaptation.

Establishing Boundaries: The Do’s and Don’ts of Building a Successful Product Development Partnership

Now that we’ve gone over some benefits of forming a strong partnership let’s talk about boundaries. Here, we’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts your company should follow in order to build a strong relationship with your product development partner.


  • Conduct Thorough Research: Before selecting a product development partner, you should conduct extensive research on each potential candidate. Evaluate their track record, expertise, and compatibility with your business objectives.
  • Clearly Define Goals and Expectations: Effectively communicate the project objectives, timelines, and expectations early in the relationship. Discuss your vision and encourage open dialogue between all parties involved.
  • Establish Clear Agreements: Now that you’ve discussed your goals and expectations, it’s time to define roles, responsibilities, timelines, and deliverables through well-defined agreements. Clarity in these aspects minimizes misunderstandings and ensures alignment between both parties.
  • Foster Collaboration: Cultivate a collaborative environment where ideas are freely exchanged, and feedback is valued between all parties. Encourage teamwork and mutual respect to harness the collective expertise of both parties. Scheduling regular meetings to discuss feedback or brainstorm ideas is a great step to ensure this happens.
  • Embrace Flexibility: Being flexible and adaptable to the ever-changing product development environment is vital. Know that there will be unforeseen challenges and changes in project scope, and plan for those by open and frequent communication. A willingness to adjust strategies and timelines can foster resilience and ensure project success.


  • Overlook Due Diligence: Avoid rushing into a partnership without conducting due diligence. Neglecting to thoroughly vet potential partners can lead to mismatched expectations and subpar outcomes. You wouldn’t buy a car without doing your research, so don’t fall short when researching your product development partner.
  • Micromanage: Resist the urge to micromanage the product development process and the team members involved. Trust your partner’s expertise and allow them the autonomy to execute tasks effectively, while maintaining a healthy oversight.
  • Neglect Communication: Communication gaps can derail even the most promising partnerships. Avoid neglecting communication channels or withholding crucial information that could impact the project’s trajectory. If a change is discussed in a meeting, ensure it’s followed up with the changes in an email sent to all parties.
  • Suppress Feedback: All parties involved in the product development process should openly voice any questions or concerns as they arise. This could avoid potential issues down the road. Make sure you’re encouraging constructive criticism, as it helps everyone grow.
  • Ignore Red Flags: Pay attention to warning signs or red flags during the selection process or throughout the partnership. Address concerns promptly and transparently to mitigate potential risks. If you sense ambiguity, address this head-on to establish clear lines of communication from the beginning.
  • Underestimate the Importance of Relationship Building: Building a strong relationship with your product development partner requires investment in time, effort, and trust. Avoid underestimating the significance of nurturing this relationship for long-term success.

By prioritizing a strong relationship with your development partner, and following our guidance, we hope you have a clearer path on laying the foundation for the success and innovation of your product. Your finished product is simply the end result, but the journey it takes along the way will determine the success and longevity in the market.

Establishing and prioritizing clear communication, collaboration, and mutual respect with your chosen product development partner will set the stage for next-generation products in today’s competitive landscape.

If you want to learn more about Pivot International and our product development expertise, contact us today. We offer global teams of project managers, engineers, and supply chain experts. Through our electronic manufacturing sites throughout North America, Europe, and Asia – we’re here to help your company succeed.