Product Development Process
What is the Product Development Process?
The product development process is a system or strategy with different steps and plans that are implemented for every new product from concept to reality until it is finally presented to the marketplace. Nowadays, creating a product or a service without a solid plan or strategy is doomed to failure regardless of how good or innovative the product is. That is when the product development process comes into play.
What is Innovation?
For a new product to succeed, it must not only answer the clients’ demands but it should also have innovative elements and traits to it. So what is innovation? The term innovation refers to a new product that is introduced to the market or to a certain group. The term “Innovation” may even refer to changes that are made on an old product. As can be seen, innovation has a broad meaning; however, in general, it can be divided into four universally agreed groups which are:
- Breakthrough Products: a breakthrough product is a product that has tremendous effects on something, whether that be a huge reduction of cost, an outstanding improvement of performance and efficiency or a leap in the technology and science.
- Incremental Products: incremental products offer improvements into already existing products, for example, a reduction in cost, or improvement in the existing product lines.
- Platform Products: think about platform products as the basic architecture for a new product.
- Disruptive Products: disruptive products are products that offer a solution to customers’ problems at a low cost. The quality is improved once they catch the market’s attention.
Product Development Process
8 Key Steps in the Product Development Process
- Idea Generation: the very first step in the product development process is to simply start with a concept. This step includes heavy research on the market, listening to the demands and needs of the clients and target audience. In this step, certain tools and techniques may be used such as brainstorming, listening to suggestions from the employees and the clients, taking notes on the competitor’s both success and failure…
- Idea Evaluation: the second step right after generating an idea and creating the basic concept is to filter all excess information and keep only the “good” ideas. Obviously, after brainstorming ideas, and doing deep research on the market and the competitors, the designers and developers will end up with huge amounts of data; therefore, it is important to scan and filter the information.
- Concept definition: the third step in the product development process is to develop the concept and test it. Now that excess information and unnecessary data are filtered out, developers can develop and define a clear concept. The concept could be for example how the product would look like, the price of the product, the target clients… however, the concept must be tested. The way this happens is by introducing the concept to the target audience and see if it has a strong appeal or attracts the clients’ attention. The concept could be a physical object or simply pictures and graphical demonstrations.
- Business Analysis: now that the concept is defined and well tested, the fourth step in the product development process is to do proper business analysis. This step includes a detailed business case to see if the product is going to be profitable or not, offering a detailed marketing strategy, specifying the target clients and audience and many more.
- Product Development: after the business analysis is made and the concept is agreed on, it is the time to develop the actual product. The fifth step in the product development process is to develop either a prototype of the product or manufacture a limited number of models. In this step, the clients will be able to give better feedback now that the actual product exists.
- Test Marketing: the sixth step is to furthermore test the product and the concept. Now that the product is available for a greater audience, it is best to take notes and listen to feedback provided by both clients and critics. This process is vital in order to validate the concept and business strategy.
- Commercialization: now that the product is developed and properly tested and validated, it is the time for the product to enter the market. The sixth step is to move the product into the market and face competitors and other marketing challenges. During this process, pricing and marketing plans need to be finalized.
- Launch: in this final stage, a launching plan is needed in order to have the maximum impact upon release of the product. In this step, questions such as when and where the product must be launched to target the primary consumer group should be answered. To have a successful product, a review of the market performance is needed.
10 Tips in order to improve product development processes
- Clients’ needs and demands must be a priority.
- The price must not be too high especially in the beginning of the marketing process.
- The product must be introduced at a proper time.
- A proper study of the competitors must be done.
- If possible, the developer must audit the project.
- A project management database must be developed.
- A technology and marketing database must also be developed.
- Encouraging employees to suggest ideas that can be very beneficial especially in the early stages.
- The quality of the product must be high enough even for an incremental product.
- The developer must choose a proper name for the product in order to attract customers and not confuse them.
In order to develop a successful product or service, a plan and a strategy are extremely vital. Following the proper guidelines and the 8 steps of the product development process book, it is most likely that the developers will have a successful journey in the extremely competitive environment which is the market.