Every year, businesses push out new products to willing consumers. Industry titans like Apple even manage to conjure up so much hype they’re generally swarmed with lines of eager customers anticipating the next launch.
But, people would line up around the block anticipating a new iPod release. (Remember those?) In order to stay competitive and keep demand high, organizations must continue a commitment to savvy product development.
Behind all those slick tech releases is a commitment to product development – and your business should make the same commitment: savvy product development that yields a value-adding product.
What is product development?
Product development is the entire process in the creation of the product, from its inception as an idea into its release into the market. This includes several stages:
1. Identify a need
2. Develop a concept and design a product to address that need
3. Outline the product roadmap
4. Develop a minimum viable product (MVP)
5. Launch the MVP with a subset of users
6. Adapt the product based on user feedback
Product development itself can leverage several methodologies, among them the increasingly popular agile project management methodology, which breaks down development into short sprints, allowing for rapid iteration based on user feedback.
IT project management: Overseeing product development
Managing your product development requires significant planning, beginning in the concept phase and into the product roadmap. Ideally, a roadmap is just that: a clear, easy to follow route for getting to your product.
This should include timelines, what will be included with each release, and which features have priority.
Product development isn’t as simple as just making something new. Instead, is requires several important steps along the way (Forbes outlines 7). Three key values to hold along the way for the best product development include:
1. Listen – before you leap. You’ll want to learn exactly what potential customers want from this product before you start developing. For example, just because you know your organization needs a new software to manage your people analytics doesn’t mean you know exactly how to approach your software development plan. Which features are critical?
2. Vet the landscape. Even if you’re developing for internal use, you’ll still want to take the time to conduct a thorough SWOT analysis for strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats. For example, could an organizational deadline threaten your project’s completion? If a big customer meeting is scheduled in 6 weeks that will take away stakeholders, you may need to consider that in project planning. Or, if another department has a similar development need, perhaps you can combine forces and create a single tool backed with both department budgets and resources.
3. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Whether you’re developing for external customers or upgrading for internal stakeholders, remember to keep it simple. Prioritize simplicity in the full cycle of software development, from inception through quality assurance testing, knowledge transfers in your software development and completion. Users should instantly know what your product can do, and how to make it function.
For small businesses, skilled IT professionals adept at product development may be challenging to staff, and difficult (if not impossible) to retain after the product development work is complete.
Increasingly businesses are turning to outsourced product development companies to pull in some additional expertise and to capitalize on the flexibility of on-demand development, meaning the IT staff scales up or down depending on the stage of development and needs.
Outsourced product development services
Overseeing product development requires IT strength, and often, businesses need to lean on IT staff augmentation to support it. Adept project managers must drive the development errors, and you’ll want top talent engineers staffing your development team to drive the actual product development itself.
When it comes to choosing vendors, “It’s important not to make purchasing decisions based solely on price,” Toni Ko, founder of a wildly successful makeup startup told Entrepreneur. “You have to go for quality and reputation.”
Of course, when it comes to quality and price in the software realm, you’ll have many considerations in an outsource software development provider, including nearshoring vs. offshoring (or a combination of the two), whether you’ll also need mobile website development services, if the benefits of software quality assurances are worth including and what outside sources like offshore web development reviews, have to say about providers. If you pursue value and partnership over lowest costs, it’s possible you’ll even save in the long run for doing it right the first time.
Any partner you ask to support product development should be committing to ensuring your product:
1. Solves an existing problem
2. Provides tangible benefits
3. Generates new benefits or revenue
Are you ready to launch your organization into new product development? TechGenies can help! Learn how our seasoned Genies can support your organization through product development from beginning to end by visiting us at https://techgenies.com/about-us/ or contacting firstname.lastname@example.org We can’t wait to help bring more value to your business!