#Guides #Tech | 22 min read | Updated: 8/16/2022

Product Development Process and New Product Development Explained: Key Stages + Expert Tips

Updated: 8/16/2022
, Project Lead
#Guides #Tech
22 min read

Once upon a time, things that are now part of our daily lives were just an idea that appeared in someone’s head. It was only after going through the full product development process, that companies such as Amazon, Airbnb, and Tesla became world-famous.

According to statistics from the McKinsey Global Institute, for every 7 product ideas, only 1 succeeds in the market. This results not from bad ideas but due to the wrong product development process and lack of market promotion.

In this article, Sloboda Studio shares several tips to successfully bring your ideas to life and effectively deliver your project.

What is a Product Development Process?

The product development process is certain stages that each company makes when building its own product. The process of product creation in different companies differs depending on 

  • industry and its specificity
  • type of product
  • timing of its implementation 

The product development process is complex. It comprises all the steps required to transform an idea into a successful market-available project strategy. Commonly the PDP includes:

  • idea generation
  • market research
  • MVP creation
  • quality assurance
  • launch
  • maintenance

Product Development Process:  TOP 5 Methodologies

A product development methodology is a prototype framework. It is used during the creation to manage, structure, plan, and control the work process.

Every project is different. It has its own requirements and limitations like costs, building time, team size, and tech stack. Thus your project may require a particular building methodology. And we’ll start our guide by overviewing the top available frameworks.

Waterfall

A waterfall methodology is a linear approach to project management. Using Waterfall management, both team and customer set up management requirements at the beginning of the project. Then they create a sequential project plan for the whole product.

Product Building: waterfall management methodology process

Flexible Product Development

This product development methodology is about being Agile. Using the flexible management method, the companies are able to continually make changes whether they appear at the beginning or at the late stages of product creation.

Using the Agile product development process, the companies can keep the cost changes low. But at the same time, it is possible to conduct such steps as modular architecture changes, management experimentations, and checking various designs. 

The most popular Agile management prototype frameworks are Scrum and Kanban:

  • Scrum 
  • Kanban 

This management methodology focuses on usability and the user experience of the products. Using a user-driven approach, a building team should pay particular attention to the established behavioral patterns of customers and implement a user-friendly design. 

Flexible Product development management process

Lean Product Development

Lean product development strategy strives to deliver the products in a short time. The process has fewer testing cycles and lower building costs. 

In general, lean product development is based on innovation management principles. It divides the building process into three parts depending on what customers need and require. Or what they want your product to have and what they wish it would have.

Lean product development management process

Extreme Programming

Extreme programming is another software creation strategy. This management method is perfect for products that require constant improvement in accordance with changing customer requirements.

Extreme programming also operates Agile management techniques. 

How Extreme management methodology works: 

The building management process consists of so-called feedback loops. During the building management process, a team makes frequent product releases in short cycles. And analyses clients’ and customers’ feedback. 

Such a methodology helps to develop a user-friendly product. Such a product is adapted to the target audience’s requirements and has an easy management structure.

Extreme Management Programming for products

Feature-Driven Development

This product management strategy also operates in short iterations. 

As a rule, the FDD model consists of five basic steps:

Concept & Initiation

This early stage includes the concept of building ideas for an actual project launch.

Product Planning

This stage consists of scope and budget planning. It may also include scheduling work, communication, management, or risk predictions.

Execution

At this management stage, the team starts the creation of the product. It tracks tasks and analyses the market performance of each iteration.

Performance & Control

During the performance stage, the team analyses the quality of the project. It also analyses the costs and general performance.

Сlosure

Naturally, the end of the project stage management. The project goes to the market.

Product Building: feature-driven development process

Product Development Process: 7 Key Stages

Throughout the software development process, every product starts with an idea. Then it goes through discovery, development, and testing to the final maintainable service. Let’s dive into some details about product creation steps and their strategy.

Product development process chart

Idea Generation

Idea generation is about problem definition and specific ways to solve it. When companies start a product creation cycle with an in-house or outsourced team with high-quality management, they need a clear and detailed vision of their future project and its ideas. 

All businesses should get started with defining the problem they are going to solve. It’s vital to search for competitors and their products. All of the market products solve some audience problems. Don’t forget about it when businesses develop new ideas.

The is a variety of problem statement techniques that helps businesses to define problems and ideas of the audience in the market, but basically, companies should answer just 3W questions:

  • What is the problem?
  • Who has this problem?
  • Why is this a problem?

Another good strategy was “The 5 Whys” created by a Japanese investor and founder of Toyota Sakichi Toyoda. His advice was to ask five times about the product’s importance, ideas, and goals for its building. The businesses should ask why until a clear answer about ideas comes. This strategy is very effective.

Companies will be able to determine ways to solve the problem after they get to know their customers. Sometimes finding solutions to problems usually turns out to be much easier than expected.

When businesses find a solution to a problem, they need to ask themselves an important question: Will the audience pay for this decision? And how much are customers willing to pay?

Here at Sloboda Studio, we are confident that clear problems, ideas, and goals are the cornerstones of successful project implementation.

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Discovery phase

The Discovery phase is a process of evaluating the client’s thoughts and strategy. It is done by collecting information and various resources about the future project. During the discovery prototype in the second step, a team analyzes the market and target audience of the future product and its strategy. As well as goals, the scope of work, and even possible challenges or limitations.

The Discovery phase is one of the most important product phases. It helps to formalize the requirements for your future product.

Only after answering this question, you will know what exactly you are building. 

2 Parts of Project Discovery Phase: 

Business part

  • Market and strategy research
  • UVP creation
  • Requirements Definition
  • Roadmap and Management Tools

Technical part     

  • UX Concept Creation
  • Choosing tech stack & architecture
  • MVP Scope estimation

As a result of a discovery phase you have to obtain:

  • Software requirements specification (SRS Document)
  • Technology stack
  • Platform architecture
  • Product functionality
  • User journey map
  • Wireframes

NB: To create an efficient concept of the project, consider creating a business model canvas for your future project. 

Business model canvas helps to understand all your project goals, target audience, revenue models, and costs. 

Market Research

The market research may or may not be included in the discovery. It depends on whether the clients did market research earlier. Or maybe they would like to conduct it with the help of the building expert team.

In Sloboda Studio, we usually involve quality project management services, business analysts, and senior developers. Optionally we engage market specialists and CTO.

Market research helps to understand:

  • Market demand
  • Your customer needs
  • Current & future trends
  • Possible company risks 
  • Competitors and their advantages
  • Must-have features

UVP development

UVP or a unique selling proposition stands for the creation of your unique value proposition. In simple words, your UVP describes what specific benefits your customer will get by using your product.

Simply put, you have to answer the question. What will your product do for your customer that nothing else can?

Requirements Definition

All the research is complete. Now it is time to come up with the functionality and product requirements. There are two kinds of requirements: functional and non-functional. 

NB: There’s one common mistake for lots of startups. Most of them start the new product development with the features that founders like. Later, the team finally analyzes the market. And it often turns out that the choice of features was wrong. Many founders realize that their favorite features aren’t needed at all in the market. A solid requirements definition helps to save money resources and time.

What are the functional requirements

Functional requirements – are such requirements and resources that tell us what services your product should give. In short, those are technical requirements about such things as an indication of how the system responds to certain input data on this step. Plus, its behavior in particular situations. And sometimes even prototype indications of what your product shouldn’t do.

Some examples of functional requirements:

  • External Interfaces
  • Authorization
  • Regulatory Requirements
  • Authentication
  • Certification Requirements
  • Historical Data
  • Admin functions
  • Business rules

What are non-functional requirements

Non-functional requirements are such requirements that show the properties the product should have on this step. Besides, non-functional requirements can also include the restrictions your product should comply with. Like some bugs or functions that aren’t related to the system’s behavior. 

Some examples of non-functional requirements:

  • Environment
  • Security
  • Data Integration
  • Regulatory
  • Performance
  • Scalability
  • Availability
  • Usability

Roadmap Development

A product roadmap is a high-level prototype of your future product development process. Moreover, the roadmap may also be used as a checker for your team. It shows the major steps of your development process. So it can help to compare what is going on at the moment. And analyze if the situation goes wrong.

3 tips for developing a roadmap in this step:

  • Give top priority to your strategy
  • Start with Product Vision 
  • Determine your product goals
  • Only then develop your product roadmap

Thus we move to the technical part of the discovery phase.

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UX Concept Creation

Next, we move on to UX concept creation.  In this step, companies decide on how exactly their product should look. And how it would be interacting with the customers.

The final expression of the UX solutions is represented by a set of wireframes. As usual, they can be prototyped. 

Product development process: Wireframes product

Choosing the Tech Stack & Architecture

At this stage, we are taking into account all the features we chose earlier. We select a technology stack that is the best fit for their implementation

So, how to choose the right technologies for your product? The next step depends on what you want to implement.

In this step your tech stack will depend on:

  • Budget. Some technologies are more expensive than others
  • Time. Sometimes it is faster to use some out-ot-the box tools than use custom development
  • General complexity of the features -the more complex one will require more sophisticated technologies

In Sloboda Studio, we love working with the Ruby on Rails framework and PHP programming language. These technologies give us an opportunity to develop projects way faster. And, provide better speed and scalability.

Scope Estimation

At this stage, we analyze the technology stack we chose earlier. Also, we define how much time it would take to develop architecture.

This stage consists of:

  • Scope of work creation
  • Prioritization of tasks
  • Scope estimation
  • Scope specification
  • Roadmap compilation

NB: Depending on the financial state of your project, the next step of the development process might be seeking investments or moving to the coving stage right away.

Fundraising 

This is about looking for funds for your project.  Once you have decided on each fundraising step:

  • what your project is about
  • which user problems it solves
  • what features it has
  • how much time the building will take

Companies can start pitching their product thoughts and plan to investors.

NB: Use your business model canvas to pitch a product.

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Sloboda Studio prepared a list of top investment companies for your software development in 2022.

MVP Development

In this step, you’ve conducted a discovery phase and business analysis, came up with a tech stack, features to develop, UX c