What is product development? The journey from the start to a finished product is never a straight line. The product development process can be pretty challenging, and it is not as easy as it looks when you see a great e-commerce business.
When you hear the origin stories, you’ll realize the hurdles of the aspiring entrepreneurs and now prominent leaders.
Immense hard work was put behind bringing a vision of a product to life. This article is an effective guide to help you understand the product development process and its key stages.
What Is Product Development?
Product development is the process of designing, creating, and manufacturing a product. This includes research, design, and creation processes, as well as product marketing, distribution, and pricing.
Developing a product is extensive and can take a long time. It involves taking an idea from conception through completion and beyond. Whether introducing a new product or improving an existing one, product development begins long before anything is developed.
Why Is Product Development Important?
Product development is what keeps a company running and in business. It ensures you are catering to your current and potential customers and that your company’s products are constantly evolving.
If you produce poorly made products, you can potentially lose money and customers and, in the worst-case scenario, be out of business. By using prototyping, you can streamline the process of developing a new product and make it more profitable.
7 Key Stages of Product Development
Product development is a procedure that can be complicated, but it is essential to understand how to design and create a product. A product development cycle is a structured process with seven key stages, each with unique goals, objectives, and tasks.
These stages are a guide to help you work through the process from idea recognition to the marketing plan. Often it is helpful to identify the relevant factors to every stage and consider them as you move through the steps.
1. Define goals and initiatives
The goal of your product is the outcome of your product development. Without a goal, it is impossible to determine what you are trying to achieve. You need to figure out how you will measure your progress towards your goals. A certain degree of complexity can help you pinpoint the closest goals and develop a strategy for the future stages of product development.
2. Research and validate your idea
How will you know whether your idea is good or not before investing a lot of time and effort in it? A good idea should satisfy your senses and solve one of your identified problems. If you are unsure about your idea, it is advised that you do further research. Market research and competitor analysis will help determine if your idea is unique and worth pursuing.
3. Create a clear product strategy
Making decisions on how to proceed will be easier if you thoroughly understand the product’s specifications, construction process, and market value. You must have a well-defined plan to understand your product’s entire lifecycle, not just the development phase.
4. Prototyping of the Product
Prototyping is the process of creating a model similar to the final product but at a much smaller scale. It’s used to test a concept and to gain early experience with product design and manufacturing.
Nearly every commercial product on the market today went through a prototyping stage. Then it entered production, meaning it was more costly to develop the product. But if you are going to make the final product, and your startup doesn’t have a nine-figure budget, a prototype is vital.
5. Sourcing and Building
Once you’re happy with your product prototype, it’s time to start collecting the supplies and finding the partners needed for manufacturing. This is the time to thoroughly discuss the features and requirements of the product with the engineering team. When a new product experience is ready, product managers are in charge of organizing the releases or launches that bring it to market.
6. Launching the product in the market
A product launch is a multi-day process that takes time to complete. It requires just as much planning as any other stage of the product development process.
Launch activities may involve marketing announcements, delivering internal training or self-help materials, and more, depending on the nature or scope of the release. To get the team on the same page regarding the work that needs to be done, think about using a launch checklist.
7. Analyze the realized product value
To produce a high-quality product, an assessment must be taken of the finished product or product portfolio. Valuable, tangible, and visible products need to be assessed to determine why investing in them will produce a return. You should make an effort to determine the product in relation to the market and competitors. But also assess the production processes and costs to better decide on a realistic target price.
Successfully carrying out a new product development process depends on several skills, many of which are necessary for virtually any business venture. Most importantly, knowing the different stages of product development and how to effectively complete each one is crucial. A well-structured product development process can shorten the learning curve for low-risk, high-reward endeavors.
The next time anyone asks, what is product development? — You must have a well-thought and educated answer to explain the concept.
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