How to create a robust product development plan?

Radhika Madhavan

Director of Marketing

Table of Contents

Product development comprises the end-to-end process of designing, developing, and delivering a new product. Product development could also refer to the process applied in improving an existing product to better suit customer needs.

It can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years for product teams to take a product idea from initiation of design to the final stage, where the product is ready to be launched in the market. This is why having an effective product development plan in place is necessary.

A product development plan enables product teams to map out processes and strategies at the early stages of conceptualization. An effective product development roadmap is required to ensure that the newly designed product caters to the consumer’s requirements.

In this article, we will explore what the different stages of product development are and how product teams work.

How to create a product development plan?

Product development includes every stage in the journey to building a finished product—from conducting research, to identifying market needs, building a roadmap, conceptualizing design, gathering feedback, and finally preparing the product for a market launch.

Here are the eight stages in a product development plan:

1. Identifying a market need

One of the primary steps in the product development process is identifying and analyzing a business pain point or opportunity that either solves a problem or improves a process for your intended customer. There are different ways to identify a market need, for instance, by conducting research, brainstorming sessions, gathering user feedback, and conducting marketing surveys.

In addition, teams can also conduct a feasibility study to determine whether a certain concept has the potential to be successful if launched into the market.

2. Quantifying the opportunity

Once an opportunity or a problem has been identified, it is important to ascertain whether or not the opportunity or the problem is worth pursuing. Quantifying the opportunity means you need to determine if the problem you’re trying to solve does in fact need a product-based solution.

One of the best ways to determine this is by analyzing the problem, and identifying the number of people or organizations being impacted by it.

Analyzing product fit is necessary in information communication design because 90% of the development effort must be discarded if modifications and changes are made after the release.

3. Conceptualizing the product

After determining that there is a consumer problem that needs to be solved, product teams get together to brainstorm ideas and bring their creative thinking into the process. This is one of the most important stages of the product development process where the product team conceptualizes multiple potential solutions to the problem. Each solution is then analyzed to determine the one that is most effective and favorable to the consumer, as well as feasible to build for the team.

4. Validating the solution

Every product demands a large set of resources in terms of time, costs, material, personnel, etc. Before proceeding with building the product, it is important to validate the solution the team has chosen to go with. In this stage of the product development process, the product team carries out an assessment at a conceptual level, to determine if there are any major roadblocks that may disrupt the process, so they can be mitigated at the early stages.

The team also evaluates other aspects of the product building plan such as the designs, research methodologies, software and so on to ensure that the product development process is steady and smooth.

5. Building the product roadmap

After settling on a proposed concept, the product management team starts building a product roadmap.

Research suggests that 70–80% of the final product quality, and 70% of the product’s life-cycle cost is determined during the product design phase, thereby providing the company an opportunity for cost reduction.

The product roadmap depicts the vision, direction, and progress of the product in a stipulated time period. The product roadmap helps identify the main goals of the product, challenges to solve, and the priorities in the product development process.

The product roadmap also helps the team create an early version of the product or a prototype, that can be tested and analyzed for performance and usability.

6. Developing a minimum viable product (MVP)

A minimum viable product is a lightweight, early-version developed by the product team in the form of a prototype. While a prototype is created especially to test out hypotheses, an MVP is created at a later stage once the product team has identified key components of the product.

An MVP will essentially contain just enough features and functionalities of the product that will enable users or product testers to provide adequate feedback that can be applied in the further product development process.

This is an important step in the product roadmap because it allows the product development team to evaluate the product offerings and gather user feedback at an early stage.

7. Releasing the MVP to users

Once the product team has developed a minimum viable product, it is released to particular sections of the market to assess user interest, product performance, and to gather feedback on what can be improved. This step gives the product team an insight into how users expect the product to perform.

One of the benefits of releasing the MVP into the market is that it allows you to determine the marketing approach, brand message, and sales strategies that can be applied. In addition, the product team can also gain some insight into product design and usability at this stage of the development process.

8. Ongoing iteration based on user feedback and strategic goals

Using the feedback gathered during the MVP release, the product team can begin working on enhancements and feature additions or improvements to be made to the product. This is an ongoing stage in the product development process and it requires planning and strategic goal setting.

The steps in this stage of the product development process can have multiple iterations based on user feedback and ad hoc modifications made to the product roadmap. It is important to note here that even when a product has reached the stage of completion, it is common for product teams to revisit certain aspects of the product for further improvement or adaptations.

Who is part of the product development team?

Now that we know what the different stages in the product development process are, it is important to understand what constitutes a product development team. In this section of the blog, we will throw some light on who is part of the product development team.

Product Manager

Product managers play a vital role at every stage in the product development process. From product discovery, to market research, identifying consumer pain points, and defining the product’s vision, the product manager occupies various key responsibilities.

The product manager is also responsible for developing the product roadmap, delegating work to members of the product team, marketing the product, and ensuring that the product development aligns with the company’s objectives.

In the broad sense, a project manager is mainly responsible for planning and organizing the end-to-end product development. This includes planning in terms of time allotment, deadlines, costs and budget, stakeholder management and scope of the project.

Design Team

Product designers or design teams play an important role in the product development process because their actions directly impact how the end user perceives the product. A product design team, therefore, must have a holistic understanding of how the product works and who the targeted end users are.

Product designers work closely with product managers to create effective user interfaces and optimized user experiences.

Development Team

A product development team usually comprises a team of engineers and application developers. The development team is primarily responsible for building the product from scratch. This team works closely with the product and project managers to understand user requirements, and with the product design team to understand key functionalities within the design of the product.

The product development team also comprises a quality assurance engineer that identifies existing and potential issues within the product, so that the technical team can fix them.

Marketing Team

Marketing and product development are coextending business functions within an organization. It is essential for the marketing team to understand the product, features, and functionalities on a deeper level so that the product can be introduced into the market accordingly.

The product marketing team is responsible for creating a strategic marketing channel that drives customer engagement with the product, and consequently enhances the sales pipeline.

Sales Team

Although sales and marketing teams work in partnership, the sales team is largely responsible for bringing in revenue to the organization once the product is launched in the market. The sales team is also responsible for customer support where they can interact directly with the customer and gather relevant feedback on the customer’s experience of using the product.

Senior Management/ Stakeholders

The senior management plays a critical role in the product development process. All key business functions—design, development, marketing, and sales must coordinate with the senior management to fulfill company goals and objectives.

It is imperative that the top management is closely involved with the product development team so they can provide a strategic direction to the team. The senior management is also responsible in determining the investment in terms of time, resources, and costs involved in building the product.

Why should you choose High Peak Software as your product development partner?

High Peak Software is a product development company that aims to provide end-to-end technology, design, and marketing solutions that add value to customers and brands. We are highly invested in delivering high-quality products, leveraged by technically relevant solutions, within the promised timelines.

We are solution finders with high expertise, striving to offer complete and superior customer experience with total customer satisfaction. High Peak leverages cutting edge technologies to build efficient products that solve complex problems.

Innovative products are integral to a company’s success. At High Peak, we will help you establish a product development plan that ensures the success you desire.

Looking to unlock the full potential of your company portfolio through our product development offerings? Let’s build great products together!

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