What is Product Development?
Product development is the process of creating a new product or updating an existing product from idea to delivery. The product development cycle begins well before anything gets built and includes brainstorming the concept, planning the product, building it, releasing it to market, and measuring its success.
The 6 Stages of Product Development
1. Idea generation (Ideation)
The product development process starts by thinking of new product ideas. This is where you brainstorm product concepts based on customer needs, pricing, and market research. Be sure to consider:
- Target market
- Existing products
- SWOT analysis
- SCAMPER method
- Rearrange / Reverse
2. Product definition
Once you’ve nailed down the concept, it’s time to define the product. This stage is also called scoping or concept development. Be sure to define these specifics:
Think of the business analysis as creating a roadmap for the product. This should include:
- Distribution strategy
- E-commerce strategy
- In-depth competitor analysis
The value proposition is what problem the product is solving and how it differs from the competition. It’s especially useful for informing a marketing strategy.
Defining how you’ll measure the success of the product early on will make it easier once it’s launched. Choose a few relevant KPIs and more specific goals if necessary.
Your value proposition and success metrics will help inform your marketing strategy. Though this strategy shouldn’t be set in stone, it’s important to decide which channels you want to use to promote the product and the general strategies early on.
This is where the planning gets more detailed. Early-stage prototypes could be a drawing or a complex computer rendering of the design. The purpose of a prototype is to see potential problems before it goes into production.
During the prototyping phase, you will work on specifics like:
Market risk research
It’s important to analyze any potential risks associated with the production before it starts. This will keep the product launch close to the timelines and ensure you effectively communicate risks to the team.
This is when you start to work through your development plan. This will include how you’ll assign tasks and the timeline for completion.
Next, evaluate your product strategy based on feasibility. Are the workload and estimated timeline possible to accomplish? If not, adjust accordingly and ask for help from stakeholders.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
The last step of the prototyping stage is a minimum viable product. The MVP is a product that has the features necessary to go to launch with and nothing above what’s necessary for it to function.
4. Initial design
This is the phase when project stakeholders work together to create a mockup of the product based on the MVP prototype with the target audience in mind and all of the features.It may take several iterations to reach a successful product design.
To produce the initial design, you will:
- Source materials from various vendors
- Connect with stakeholders with a weekly or daily progress report
- Receive initial feedback from senior managers
5. Validation and testing
You have to test the product before it goes live to make sure everything is working properly. This will include:
- Concept development and testing
- Front-end testing
- Test marketing
Now it’s time to launch your product and implement it on your website. Now that you’ve finalized the design and quality tested your development and marketing strategy, you should feel ready to produce your final product. Once the launch is complete, it’s time to measure its success using the metrics you decided on earlier.
Who Makes Up the Product Development Team?
The product development process brings a lot of skills and expertise together. This usually means collaboration between departments. Here are the main players:
A product manager oversees the entire product life cycle and works to bridge communication gaps between involved teams. The product manager starts new product launches, product ideation, and market research.
A project manager assists with communication across departments in the product development process. They might also assist with delegating tasks and tracking goals.
The design team supports the visual product concept during the prototyping and designing phase. They collaborate with brand guidelines and UX best practices to create their product design.
The development team implements the product on your website. Usually, a team of developers will work together to build the new product offering. The size of the team varies depending on the complexity of the concept.
The marketing team develops the marketing strategy and tests the strategy before the product goes live. They will also measure marketing campaigns’ success.
The product manager and the sales team work together to create an effective strategy and report on success metrics after the product has been launched.
Product Development Best Practices
- Focus on the value the product can bring to your business and the customers
- Make sure every department in the process is on the same page
- Always keep customer needs in mind
- Invest in tools that make the process easier
How Sav Can Help
No matter what products you sell, a beautiful website will get more eyes on them and get them into more people’s homes. Start creating with us today!