Product Development Solution: Top Factors to Consider for a Good Development Strategy
A good product development strategy will allow your business to have a thorough planning and well-executed development project, ultimately setting your product apart from many competitors in an increasingly competitive market.
Having a product development strategy will guide development team in the right direction as well as knowing specifically about what to dos and don’ts in regards to designs, prototyping, engineering, and other various stages throughout the project.
With years of experience delivering software development services to numerous clients across the global market, TP&P Technology put together a list of factors that should be considered for an effective product development strategy:
Product development strategy
Depends on the size and scope of product development projects, there will be difference in requirements of technologies as well as other expertise needed for the projects, including: project management, design and prototyping, engineering, QA and testing, and others. Moreover, for businesses that look to incorporate advanced technologies (e.g. Machine Learning, Blockchain, etc.) or use DevOps practice into the development process, then specific IT professionals with competencies in specific technology might be needed.
Having said that, hiring in-house developers with needed expertise could be a challenge due to shortage of local skilled IT professionals with specific expertise. Furthermore, the process of hiring and onboarding could be very time-consuming, costly and simply even risky.
Outsourcing part or the entire product development project could be a good solution here, yet it still requires considerable efforts from your business.
In order to ensure that the outsourcing vendors can match the skills required and meet quality standards as well as expectations, it might be required that you exercise management (of the remote team) over the project in entirety. Nevertheless, a reliable and experienced outsourcing vendor will be capable of self-managing efficiently with transparent processes, helping you to save time and efforts.
For effective development costs, the following points should be considered:
- Bringing in QA and software testing as early as the start of projects, finding and fixing bugs in the early development stage is cheaper.
- Adopt open-source technologies if possible (cost of support not inclusive).
- Employ offshore outsourcing software development services.
- Consider using cloud technologies (as needed) to pay for only what you use (e.g. storage services, payment gateway, and more).
- Re-use the existing components as applicable.
- And more
Adopting the above practices might help reduce the product development costs effectively. However, there’s always limitations to such practices, for example, many open-source software lack updates or incur additional support costs. With outsourcing, it will require a trustworthy partner that is experienced and capable of self-management with transparency and visibility throughout the project.
Clearly identify requirements of your product
Clearly identifying requirements will make it easier and efficient for business to manage the project, and help save a lot of time and attention from your part.
Here, businesses should consider if their products would require any changes or innovations in terms of technologies and development approaches in the future, then it’s possible for businesses to opt for a linear development process that has been popular and widely-adopted for a long time.
Product requirements, timeline and budgets will be agreed upon at the beginning and stay unchanged throughout the project.
Yet, for mid-size and enterprise product development project with large and complex requirements, it’s very likely that changes will occur (frequently) and would require development method fitting evolving requirements.
Using an iterative approach for development will allow product requirements to be concretely established throughout the development, based on data collected from a series of releases and users feedback. The drawback of such method is that it require strong project management expertise and continuous involvements from all parties.
Meeting product development timeline and deadline and speed-up time-to-market
Choose the right technology platform
Choosing a suitable technology platform (which covers the programming language as well as its frameworks, patterns, APIs, and more) is critical to ensure the project success as well as meeting development timeline. Each platform is different and appropriate for specific projects based on timeline requirements as well as the level of performance reliability.
What should be considered?
- Ensure the compatibility of the already implemented tech stack (if applicable) of the product or your business IT infrastructure.
- Consider the requirements for maintenance of the chosen technology platform which includes: versions, enhancements, etc. and also other long-term support costs.
Employing automation in various stages of the project such as development, testing, and deployment will help speed up the project time-line, which in turns speed-up product time-to-market. Some of the processes and key tools for automation are as follows:
- Microservices and containers (More about benefits of using Microservices architecture for software development)
- Test automation: standardization of test planning, design, development and automation of test execution.
- DevOps: allow a more a quick and efficient development and deployment process through aligning and by collaborating between development and operations to reduce critical time-to-market, and enhance software product reliability. (Read more about DevOps practice here)
Depends on the nature of the industry your businesses are in, you might have to comply with industry-specific law and regulations such as: KYC and PCI DSS (Fintech), or HIPAA (healthcare) etc. it’s important to make sure your product is developed meeting such required standards and regulations.
Businesses are transitioning into a mobile-first world where mobile is no longer an option but indeed a must. Depending on your product category and target market, there are a wide range of options for effective mobile enablement. Some of the most popular options are:
- Native mobile application;
- Progressive web application;
- Mobile web application;
- Cross-platform mobile app;
Each of the option has its pros and cons, and businesses should carefully examine each option to ensure it’s the best suitable for their mobile requirements.
For a commercial software product to be viable and profitable, its stages post development should be treated just as equally important as the development stage itself.
In order to differentiate and stand out among competitors, it’s necessary for owners to conduct thorough market research and analysis, finding out where competitions, disadvantages as well as opportunities are.
Specifically, businesses should be able to identify the distinctive features of their product as selling points which help users solve a specific problems in their daily lives or works. It could be innovation, high level and quick performance, product value-for-money, or targeting a specific niche market etc. which will affect priority in future development and resources allocation.
Review and feedback
Taking in assessment and constructive feedbacks from users is crucial for improvement and make products sells, especially in a competitive market where users’ needs constantly change and could be hard to predict. And if that is the case, you can start with an MVP (minimum viable product) for early customers and continuously improve upon it for future development based on those early users’ feedback.
Having a well carefully planned out strategy and making key decisions at the beginning of the product development project will allow businesses to have an estimate of project timeline and budget more accurately, with efficient resources allocation, as well as able to find a reliable software outsourcing partner or set-up an in-house development team faster.
Yet, flexibility is an important part of any strategy as unexpected circumstances could always arise. Having an objective view to try to select the best suitable technology, approach, method, and practice etc. is essential to ensure success.
Not having the in-house expertise and capabilities that is needed for your project should not discourage you to avoid using it. Instead, you should plan to fill in the missing gap of technology capabilities through consulting, hiring and/or outsourcing.
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