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How the Product Development Process Works in 5 Steps

How the Product Development Process Works in 5 Steps

Published on: 12 Jan 2023 8 min read

The product development process is rarely straightforward as it passes through a number of phases – it goes a long way from initial ideas generation to the finished product market launch. And this is only the starting point and final destination of the journey – companies also have to do the planning, prototyping, testing, and iterations in between.

How the Product Development Process Works in 5 Steps

The product development process is rarely straightforward as it passes through a number of phases – it goes a long way from initial ideas generation to the finished product market launch. And this is only the starting point and final destination of the journey – companies also have to do the planning, prototyping, testing, and iterations in between.

Then there are the new versions and updates of existing products and their introduction to new markets. Needless to say, with that many steps and teams involved, there is a lot that can go wrong, and it often does. 

Problem Statement

Many aspects of a new product function in the process of development are on a conceptual level, and things become even more abstract when it comes to the concept of the technical solution. This might create a conflict when collaborating with a regular external development partner, as most software service companies expect clearly defined requirements in order to function. 

So, what are the 5 steps of product development, when can you expect to stumble upon serious challenges, and what needs to be done to survive the challenges? Read on to find out!

Iterative Prototyping and Validation

It is not uncommon to hit a roadblock that hinders the decision-making process as early as that – at the idea-generation phase and brainstorming sessions. This might result from low-quality data that makes it impossible to access actionable insights about the future product and consumers. 

The technology vendor’s know-how would be instrumental at this point, therefore they need to be involved in extensive communication from the initial stages of product development. The service provider’s experience would help them understand the user and empathize with defining the problems and identifying the desired outcomes​.

At Scalefocus, we implement Design Sprints for: 

  • Rapid product creation to quickly test ideas and get meaningful metrics on how your customers behave​
  • Quick prototyping for faster idea validation and understanding of where you stand on the market

Mind you, achieving a finished product is not something you can expect to happen instantly so prepare for prototyping several versions of the product. Facing unexpected flaws while experimenting, eliminating them along the way, and making upgrades will eventually limit the options and get the best one over the line.

Product Roadmap

Even experienced PMs and POs could sometimes find creating an efficient product strategy virtually impossible. One of the most challenging sides of planning is setting priorities and defining the Must-haves, Should-haves, Could-haves, and Will-not-haves. As a result, delays are inevitable, and the whole process will eventually slow down significantly without a detailed roadmap. 

Scalefocus provides a technology-agnostic assessment of the best technology to recognize our partners’ product vision, including methodology.​ Product design and execution with feedback loops to the product strategy allows for early pivots in focus, zooming in or out of product features, and finding the best fit for your business model.​

We create detailed development plans with clear milestones that help validate ideas with a quick turnaround time and provide a blueprint for strategic action. ​Scalefocus can put the PO role in context with an entire portfolio of products with mutual dependencies.

Development

Scalefocus does milestone-based development with multiple feedback loops between each phase​. Our dedicated fully-functional teams ensure engineering excellence, world-class project management, and successful delivery​. 

The increment-based delivery approach is tailored from demos, prototypes, and MVPs using agile techniques for smaller teams like Scrum, Kanban, and Scrumban.​ We boast dedicated UI/UX gurus who provide outstanding user experiences in our partners’ products and validate their ideas even before development commitment.​

Operational Validation

Of course, testing and iteration happen in all product development stages, but they are absolutely critical before deployment. To make certain the solution suits our partners’ business needs, we need to analyze performance metrics gathered in the development phase to ensure all requirements are met. 

Scalefocus executes continuous manual and automation testing throughout the development lifecycle, as well as infrastructure and scalability testing. We do user group-based UI/UX testing to assess client behavior and ensure optimum adoption.​

Cyber protection is paramount for us, so our enhanced security testing provides extensive product resiliency and ensures all data is secure.​

Continuous Operation

Product maintenance and support ensure high levels of operational stability and customer satisfaction. Our economy of scale support model guarantees maximum service at minimum cost​. The Scalefocus dedicated Application Continuity Center (ACC) provides professional maintenance and support services so you can focus on your core business and clients.

The Scalefocus Approach

Scalefocus offers virtual teams capable of covering all aspects of product development.

Product ownership partner – for obvious reasons, the overall ownership of the product concept usually remains with the customer. However, having an in-depth understanding of the specifics of the product and not having to translate every aspect into technical lingo brings significant advantages during the design and development phases. In fact, as countless endeavors have proven, it can be the differentiator between the success and failure of a particular product.

Engagement partner – engagement on the actual usability level of the product instead of simply dealing with technical delivery. Examples:

  • For end-user products: iterations over the UI/UX aspects with prospective users and re-designing the corresponding overall system components in order to achieve actual user satisfaction instead of implementing the initial concept without giving it a chance to be evaluated in a hands-on manner.
  • For data-centric solutions: collaboration with the actual consumers of the data (prediction platforms, analytics, etc.) to fine-tune features, structures, scalability constraints, and availability time issues so that the solution is robust and usable.

Stable, well-timed, and feature-rich data pipelines build the foundation of the actual solutions building on top of these “data-baseplates”. Having a partner who understands the purpose of the data can have a direct impact on the overall success of the solution.   

Delivery management – a Delivery Manager’s role is to follow up after the initial product specification and make certain the iteration-based delivery and improvement process functions. Delivery Managers effectively act as the first point of escalation of any kind issued by the customer:

  • Tackling team performance issues that can be resolved internally within the organization.
  • Resolving replacement requests by the client or due to internal and external factors.
  • Handling all sorts of extreme internal and external situations that are outside the scope of the standard delivery process.
  • Keeping an overview of key milestones and changes in the near future that might affect the client or the delivered solution directly or indirectly. These include major functionality releases, workshops on significant architecture changes, system deprecation, replacement of key team members, etc.

Continuous operations 

It is crucial to maintain uninterrupted operations of apps and data services throughout the Product Development lifecycle so that new releases, updates, and fixes maintain availability and performance.

In the context of the product development process, accidents that prevent applications or services from functioning are not tolerable. That is why tech teams always need to monitor infrastructure, applications, and services and tie the monitoring process to automated remediation.

Robust automation architecture and effective services orchestration are vital to achieving all that. To accomplish end-to-end automation across silos, the orchestration of automation needs to make certain that various tools and systems in the operations management chain are correctly connected, and hand-off points are automated.

Scalefocus always selects the ideal automation platforms to integrate the necessary tools into completely automated, monitored, and controlled end-to-end processes. Established DevOps culture and cloud-native development methodology are prerequisites for those above and enable us to deliver Continuous Operations – or the fine art of seamless upgrades.

Including Continuous Operations within the product development and delivery process is significant because it enhances the companies’ capacity while operating continuously. Automation strategies drastically reduce the system’s costs when stopping, restarting, and reconfiguring backend or front-end operations. 

Effect

  • Technological partnership during the conceptual phase of a product aligns technological decision with its iterative evolution 
  • Technological feedback about the influence of specific strategic decisions impacts product development early on
  • Bridging the gap between product development and engineering results in a partnership on a product level vs having a basic technological execution partner

Key Takeaways

Idea validation and prototyping, design and planning, development, testing, and deployment: the product development process at Scalefocus is split into five distinct phases. This way, we guarantee that every step through our partners’ journey is well-planned and precisely executed to drive them toward success.

Scalefocus helps organizations build unique products by leveraging world-class engineering teams and subject matter experts. Their talent to bring know-how from different verticals accelerates time-to-market, mitigates risk, and enables them to cherry-pick the best technologies to realize your vision.

Contact us now, we would be more than happy to discuss your products and take them to the next level. 

About the Author:

Krasimir Kunchev

Krasimir Kunchev

Senior Content Writer

Kras is a true musical force-turned-copywriter. What can we say? Multitalented people do exist, and we got them! He’s been on stage since the mid-nineties when punk rock was alive and kicking. Fittingly, he started his writing career as a rock journalist and later learned his chops in advertising.

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