The entire process of introducing a product to the market is considered to be a product development. Creating a product concept, getting a market response to the idea, developing a prototype, planning marketing and sales campaigns, constructing the product and releasing it, as well as making changes according to feedback – are all possible steps in the development process.
Any software product development company needs a strong product management team since they serve as the process’s strategic directors. Product management is not the same as product development, despite the frequent usage of the two phrases interchangeably. An organization’s teams and departments should work together in a coordinated manner as part of the much larger process known as product development. It includes:
- Product management;
- UI/UX design;
- Testing and QA;
- Shipping and distribution;
- Customer support.
How to Define a Product Development Strategy?
Any business should first develop a certain methodology in order to succeed in the market with its merchandise. It should be a methodical, step-by-step strategy that enables the developers to advance the product to the next stage of this long process, starting from making a very first concept until the launch. A proper development plan allows a company to:
1. Organize the Cross-Functional Team Around the Broad Objectives and Priorities
This will enable the team to make more knowledgeable tactical judgments as problems and queries are encountered during the development process.
2. Provide the Team Suggestions at Each Stage of the Product’s Development
The team will be in a better position to decide whether to stick with their original plan or change course and give priority to other capabilities if they are working from a predetermined product development strategy.
3. Facilitate More Effective Development
A corporation will be better able to allocate resources and forecast timeframes throughout the development process if it has a properly defined product development plan.
Organize a Development Strategy Around Design Thinking
By firm, industry, and other considerations, product development strategies vary. One should remember that there is no one unified strategy that fits all situations perfectly. It may vary according to a company, industry, goals, budget, competitors, amount of employees, possible risks, etc. However, there are many effective strategies that share the same features. Let’s talk about how a business may structure its product development strategy around the design thinking methodology:
Step 1: Empathize with Users
Manufacturers of home electronic devices came up with a straightforward plan of how to view the world through “the consumers’ eyes”. Customers’ homes were visited by product managers from various businesses, who requested to see how their products—microwaves, dishwashers, coffee makers, vacuum cleaners, blenders, etc.—were used.
The PMs would keep track of the features that consumers utilized, how they were activated, any issues they ran across while using the products, and whether any solutions were developed.
Step 2: Define the Problem
Create a framework and a plan for each stage of your product development approach. You might divide the process into three phases:
1. List each user pain point you have discovered;
2. Narrow these down to a selection of a few pain areas. Depending on the pain issues you think your team might solve most quickly and easily, you can reduce the list to the most serious ones you’ve identified;
3. Run the list past your product team to get further feedback and to come up with a list that everyone on the team believes is worthwhile.
Step 3: Brainstorm Any Potential Solutions
Again, you’ll need structure at every stage of a product development approach. Brainstorming involves more than just thinking of ideas when alone in a room. Create a procedure for it. For instance:
1. Bring your team members together for an open brainstorming discussion. You should also present the team with the results of any research you conducted in advance of this meeting to help everyone to get a deeper understanding of your users’ perspectives. The team will benefit from having a deeper understanding of the solutions you intend to create and why;
2. At the start of your session, decide if each recommendation is a go or a no-go. For instance, you can determine that each individual presenting a product concept gets 5 minutes to convince the group that his/her idea is the best;
3. Make an approximate estimate of the time, money, and resources required to produce a minimum viable product or even a minimum viable feature once you’ve reduced your list of product concepts to a reasonable amount. You now have an additional set of standards to assist you in choosing which of the product concepts to develop.
Step 4: Create a Prototype
You will have a general understanding of the market issue you are trying to solve with your solution at this point. Inform your engineers and designers about this concept. Let them apply their strategic understanding.
Step 5: Test Your Solution
This last step in the design thinking methodology refers to letting customers to test your product and provide feedback on what they like and don’t like about it rather than internal QA testing. As a part of your product development plan, you should apply structure to this stage of the creation of your product.
An Agile Product Development Strategy
In whatever kind of company, the core ideas of a product development strategy should hold true. This entails developing a step-by-step development strategy and maintaining overall strategy alignment across all stakeholders. However, agile businesses take a different approach to development, which will have an impact on some of the specifics of how they plan and carry out their product development strategy.
A more effective technique for product development may be the agile approach. Because the product is placed in the hands of consumers earlier in the process, it enables the product team to spend more time receiving and evaluating real-world input. This method implies that each succeeding stage of development might gain from investigating real product usage or from learning about users’ opinions.
We have spoken about product development strategies in terms of generating new products up to this point. Product teams should use this step-by-step approach for a variety of different strategic initiatives, though. Utilize a plan for product development for:
- Creating a new product;
- Updating an existing one;
- Enhancing an existing product to enter a new market;
- Extending an existing product to include new pricing models;
- Reducing and eliminating product updates and support as it declines;
- Sunsetting a product at the end of its lifecycle.