There is barely a company out there that isn’t looking to scale its business and improve its product development process along the way. Of course, there is a lot of trial and error along the way. Which is fine – through failure there is growth.
But there are some full-proof ways for accelerating the design and development of products. Read on below to find out which ones, and how you can implement them in your business.
For Starters, What is a Product Development Process?
The product development process could be briefly explained as a whole scope of different actions that encompass the conceptualization of a product all the way to its completion. And not just actions – the product development process also encompasses the rules needed to take a product from an idea to a readily available product on the market.
Some of the steps in that process are:
- Researching the marketplace
- Identifying the market needs
- Competition research
- Segmenting the product development lifecycle
- Developing the MVP (Minimal Viable Product)
- Collecting feedback
- Developing the second and more complete iteration of the product
According to a 2020 report, approximately 20% of new businesses fail in their first year. This is due to a variety of factors, including insufficient market research, incompetence, and the lack of economically viable business models. By evaluating the potential of your idea and the current market situation, the new product development process is designed to eliminate these risks from your business.
You don’t need a product developer necessary to end up with a great and marketable product. For starters, developing a new product unites nearly all departments – design, UX/UI, engineering, IT, marketing, etc. Also, there are professional product design and development consultancy businesses that specialize in providing an extra dimension to their client’s vision and strategy.
Below we will go through the tips and tricks for securing successful product development.
Adopting an Agile Mindset
Adopting an agile approach, in this case, refers to adopting agile product development principles. A product is most successfully delivered to the marketplace by following agile software development rules – the best example being fast iteration based on feedback after MVP presentation and testing.
Agile development became quite popular when it showed great results in shortening the product development cycle and hitting that coveted product launch goal. Basically, better outcomes happened when product teams pushed for faster iterations, with each one having less updates and improvements (this is said in a good way).
The alignment of the software and hardware development processes is difficult to manage in a stable, agile environment for many major organizations. It’s vital to improve predictability, transparency, and the capacity to respond swiftly to business developments. Agile has historically been employed for software development for historical reasons, but that could change. It is possible to be agile in hardware development, and it is quite beneficial these days.
Don’t Be Afraid to Spend Time on Ideation
Ideation is the initial product development stage. Here is where product ideas and concepts are born, as a result of idea screening and trying to find the next product effort.
Encompassed in this stage are:
- Product concept and solution definition
- Business analysis
- Market research
- Reviewing technical and market risk
One of the most popular analyses is the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis which helps you and your team define where you want to go with your product idea.
Remember, the consumer itself is the most useful source of feedback and ideas. So analyze external sources from contributors and distributors on the market
Focusing on Prototyping
If you are a startup, you will especially need to pay attention to prototyping, because you need to justify the investments venture capitalists made. So you need to make a detailed business plan that includes the aforementioned market research, as well as a well-defined project management strategy.
Your team should thoroughly investigate the new product’s competitive landscape and where the new solution fits within it, as well as develop a financial model for the new offering that includes market share assumptions. This process also determines cost, in addition to concept testing.
For physical new products, such as hardware or mixed systems, the team also examines the proposed new product’s manufacturability, which includes the product’s sourcing (if it is outsourced). Senior Management should have a strong understanding of what they’re investing in and how it will perform in the marketplace.
The prototyping phase is also crucial because it lowers the new product’s market risk. Because prototypes are ready to present to customers and receive an initial response, this is the stage when you can do test marketing.
Plan Both for Before and After the Launch
Companies typically design a prototype without assessing production volumes to speed up the product development process, only to face launch delays due to the need to “productionize” the product later. Supply chains must be suited to support new products rather than just fit existing ones; otherwise, optimum efficiency and performance targets will not be met.
Increasing production involves considering a large number of interconnected data points over the course of a product’s life cycle. To ensure continuous on-time supply, big manufacturers plan for a variety of pre-and post-launch scenarios. To ensure a smooth transition from idea to prototype to production, the entire product launch strategy, processes, and metrics should be considered during product development.
During the development of a new product, each road taken to the finished product is unique and depends on the industry. If you’re having trouble figuring it all out, keep in mind that every product on the market has faced the same or similar difficulties.
And keep in mind that cultivating strong partnerships is one of the most significant parts of the product development process. Hiring a product design consultancy can speed up moving a product from concept to market, and it involves less risk!