Designing a product from the start can be challenging. Let's use an airplane flight to understand the process better. Airplane flights include procedures and protocols to arrive at a specific final action. As it involves steps to achieve goals, Product Development encloses the same cycle. Also, it includes stages, tools, methodologies, and other measures. As a developer, it's essential to know each step. In turn, it will influence commercial activities. So, let's jump on our plane to understand Product Development better! Are you ready?
What is Product Development?
Product Development addresses conceptualization, design, development, and marketing. While it's a process, it also aims to increase market share to meet demand. Thus, before launching, companies need quantitative and qualitative studies of said markets. Yet, having an idea isn't enough to develop a successful product: projection is crucial.
Where to Start with Product Development?
There are some general aspects to notice when starting a Product Development project.
1. Goals. For robust Product Development, having clear goals is crucial. For instance, a significant challenge is risk management for profit maximization. Thus, plans must be clear at each phase and delivery stage. Likewise, the goals' definition also includes knowing what serves value. In this sense, more doesn't always mean better. Here, narrowing goals includes balancing utility and complexity.
2. Team. Beyond professional capabilities, any team needs to maintain actual good relationships. Also, teams must develop trust in each other to achieve success.
3. Structure. Product Development needs the role of a Product Owner. This position handles decisions while being part of the team. Plus, it ensures the proper management of stages unfolding, delivery times, and deadlines.
4. Roadmap. Having an idea is the flash of a star, but it's essential to shape it. So, a well-designed must have every edge under control. These facets enclose risks, competitors, opportunities, and macroeconomic factors. Also, a successful roadmap must always include test execution and feedback instances.
What is the Product Development Cycle?
The development cycle is where you convert the idea into an actual product. Each stage requires specific efforts to comprehend every element. But it goes beyond that! Also, it includes what happens after its launch. Having a good product life cycle strategy allows for extending its lifetime. Often products have an end date, but increasing these dates is possible.
A clear example is Netflix. The company started as a DVD rental delivery model. Yet, nowadays, it has evolved into the leading streaming service we know. Thus, strategies must be present from scratch. This approach allows for anticipating future scenarios and knowing what steps to take.
What are the Stages of the Product Development Cycle?
Every product goes through processes. In the case of Product Development, its life cycle also receives the name PDLC. Often, this procedure encloses four or five stages. Yet, these can be inaccurate; thus, for some, it can reach up to seven steps. These phases include
1. Ideation. The first phase is when general brainstorming occurs. Here, teams present the problems to solve and sketch out the first answers.
2. Validation. With an ideas list, the next step is to narrow it down to more summarized concepts. The focus is on creating filters to discard not viable proposals. One way to do this is by talking to potential customers or final users. As we know, their opinion comes with meaningful insights.
3. Prototyping. For Software Products, the most common prototypes are layouts or wireframes. Here, teams will start to organize the different components of the product. Plus, they'll focus on the features interactions with each other.
4. Strategy. At this stage, crews integrate the product's strategy. This approach helps to have cohesion between development, design, and marketing. Here, the priority is designing the product's value proposition for the desired market. With it, sales and advertising assets will combine with the final product.
5. Development. After combining strategy and prototyping, it's time to shape the outcome. In most cases, the final aim for this stage is to build an MVP. The idea behind it is to create the first functional version of the product. Yet, there's also the choice of developing the finalized product. This strategy aims to ensure its best quality when releasing it to the market.
6. Launching. Whether it's an MPV or a final product, the next stage is launching. Not only does this encloses the sales strategy attached to the product. Further, it includes several measurement analyses. Here, one of the first steps is to see if previous studies of potential users match the real ones using the product. Also, it's vital to notice the actual impact on real users. Thus, teams can know if the received data aligns with market research.
7. Maintenance. With feedback, data, and impact, teams can define the product. Thus, there's constant space for improvement. Here, crews can iterate the product to achieve the most helpful version for final users. Likewise, it's normal for developers to return to previous stages to correct mistakes.
The last three steps often repeat during the first months after the initial release. Hence, the Product Development Life Cycle continues after releasing the product. There's always the prospect of backtracking for better optimization. Yet, this procedure can be subject to all types of changes. Ultimately, these stages will depend on the final users' feedback.
What does a Product Manager do?
Product Developers handle the creation, development, and delivery of products. Likewise, they are also in charge of enhancing their position in the market after launching. The work encloses close relations with engineers and designers. As a result, teams can bring new products to life, from conception to release.
Workers need a deep understanding of the technical aspects of this role. Yet, it's also imperative to acknowledge the company's business goals and purposes. This match means those holding this position have two business highlights. On the one hand, there's taking a product from concept to reality. On the other, ensuring it meets all requirements and is profitable. Hence, solid problem-solving skills are vital for this role. Additional strengths enclose thinking outside the box and being comfortable in fast-paced environments.
Product Development vs. Software Development
Software Development can include several things. Below, we'll see some differences between Software and Product Development.
In the end, both are necessary for businesses. Likewise, both Software and Product Development have an influential impact on companies' success. The final goal is to deliver outcomes that combine quality, design, and functionality.
Why is Product Development Important?
Product Development is the lifeblood of companies. Also, there are different types of products. The word product encloses physical objects like cars, and digital solutions, like IT development. Achieving successful Product Development leads to results like the following:
- User Value. This reason comes at the top when developing a new product. It makes no sense to create a product without anyone consuming it. Thus, offering practical value is essential for companies.
- Societal Improvement. Some products have the power to improve society's life quality. In IT solutions, clear examples involve Software additions to healthcare and education. The merging of tech with daily life can lead to outstanding results.
- Business Continuity. A successful product ensures business continuity. In this scenario, the goal is to endorse and position the venture. Also, products are an excellent way to encompass business values. Likewise, Product Development creates new income sources.
When it comes to success, Product Development is vital. Yet, we must acknowledge that it's a complex field. Here, ideas collide, create utility, and enhance companies from competitors. Are you ready to take the step from dreamer to doer?