Breaking Down New Product Development Processes into Manageable Chunks

Making sure the processes within product development do not smother new ideas and unique concepts from flourishing

by Rod Dunne on September 28, 2011

in Innovation

Your new product development process begins with an idea that can be entirely original or an enhancement of an existing product. Getting final products to customers isn’t always easy however as your product development process is riddled with numerous hurdles that can stop your project before it even reaches completion.

It All Begins With Requirements and USP

The most important thing in your business development process is understanding your own market’s requirements. You have to follow & identify market trends and figure out what everyone is buying or anticipating. I’ve written previously about how to market new products so won’t go into the details of doing full market research here.

Another point to note is that you should figure out ways in which your products differentiate themselves from others in the market (a.k.a. the unique selling proposition or USP). Integrating this early in the new product development process is integral to its success.

A good ploy would be to anticipate customer demand and future technologies into one neat product that ties everything together. Chosen technologies also imply what product development systems & services you’ll need.

A great example is Apple’s iPhone series. It combines proven technologies with customer demand tying it together with a polished hardware and software solution that rivals cannot match.

Next, Establish Your Product Development Strategy

The product development life cycle should take all these factors into account to make a compelling item that customers will want to own and use. A good way to approach this is to strategize the ways in which the project can handle problems and process them easily and efficiently.

A product’s specification is a great way to nail down details early on in your well-defined operational product development strategy. This enables the product development life cycle to take into account a technical or feasibility study to figure out what can be done and what you should leave out.

Key to this should be your quality management and control objectives. Products which don’t perform up to your customers expectations will soon get a bad name for themselves and no amount of advertising or positive promotion will help a dud to succeed.

Remember: You’re not trying to create products that will be all things to all people. Instead focus the specifications on satisfying the needs of as many potential customers as possible in your target niche.

Get Your People on Board – The RIGHT People

A good product development manager is integral to your project’s success. This individual makes sure that the company’s products do not become outdated or unmarketable.

He or she normally has a degree in business focusing on courses that cater to the industry the individual wants to work in. More importantly though, they should have experience working in the industry and ideally have the technical and business understanding of your product lines/industry.

Your product development manager as to communicate effectively and emphasize feature analysis. They back up their arguments For key features with in-depth market data as well as business plans for implementation among other things.

You think of it this way: Consumer psychology and marketing concepts are fused together by the product development manager to make the company’s products worthwhile and useful to the end user.

Then Just Do It!

Yes. With the right people and plan in place your next step is simply to start iteratively developing implementations.

You won’t get it right first time though. Always plan to have a few initial cycles (of beta products) so that you can test the waters. As long as your research, your plans and your people are right then you stand a strong chance of having a successful product on your hands.
Simple stages for delivering new products operationally & technically

Product Design and Development Tips – From the Software Industry

Having a new product development strategy is essential to ensure that your idea is going to be profitable. Companies, small business owners and personal users may all have different needs within the same program So you have to nail your market properly. Here are some product design and development tips.

Establish Customer Demand

The first step into creating a new product is to assess the demand for the problem that the software creates. People will buy any piece of software that makes their personal or professional life easier. But, you really need to know just how many?

There are many ways to find market demand & potential new product ideas. Simply asking current customers what they need is one way to get free ideas (e.g. via surveys, questionnaires, etc.). Offering coupons or discounts is one way to improve the response rate.

Establish Customer Needs

Search long tail keywords related to solving specific problems in your market. There are a number of paid software options that will make keyword research faster or you could simply use Google’s external keyword tool.

When potential buyers are trying to solve a problem they will type in a description of their needs for some tool. Your goal is to create a product with features that satisfy these needs.

Search User Groups & Forums For Deeper Analysis

Research forums related to the best keywords that are found. This is where people (Your potential future customers) talk in depth about solving their problems. Participating in these forums as a participant/forum member is a good way for you & your firm to become connected with a future customer base. Understanding who your target market is will help prevent spending time creating software that does not solve a complete problem.

Speed to Market

Software product development often takes several months to go from an idea into a testable beta product. Companies that have dozens of employees may be able to bring a product to market faster to a high enough degree of quality. If there is a bug that is not able to worked out consider outsourcing steps in the development to a qualified programmer/tester.

Do anything to improve your speed to market but always make sure to hang onto your intellectual property (the key to your success).

If it Looks Like a Pig, Then People Perceive it as a Pig!

Design elements within the program need to be professional. Functionality is important but you’ll find people are more visually oriented. Outdated graphics may make the product appear cheap. Investing a bit of additional time into the design elements will pay off in the perceived value.

Don’t Price Yourself Out of the Market

Take time to research the current market rates for similar products. Take into account the features and benefits of using the software. Selling your product at to cheaper rate can even be just as bad or sending it to expensively. Understand before setting a price what value can be put on your product.

Design your sales pages around benefits. Talk about how the product will make your customer’s lives easier. Hiring professionals to produce ad copy, pay-per-click ads, promotional articles and press releases may seem excessive but persuasive copywriting can make a huge difference in turnover for your firm. A professional marketing plan is the best way to ensure steady sales.

DON’T BE UNDER ANY ILLUSIONS: As it stands, a new product development process is long and arduous. It begins with an idea and is shaped by a team that is led by the product development manager. Many factors are taken into account including consumer demand and technical specifications to finalize the product. Your product development life cycle can be short or long depending on the item being developed so factor this into your plans.

Author Rod Dunne...

Blog owner and sole writer Rod DunneI am the owner and sole writer on This is my personal blog detailing troubleshooting tips for small businesses. Posts are based upon 2 decades in consultancy & innovation management within startups/maturing companies.

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