Navigating your team through the process of taking a product idea, developing software, and launching it takes determination, vision, and resources, but it also takes a well-planned strategy. Many software companies find their way through the process.
However, unfortunately, many fall short, encounter financial issues, and never reach the finish line. Between 50 to 80% of software projects fail.
But yours doesn’t have to.
Following product development best practices can help your business successfully meet your customers’ needs and deliver the solution on time and within your budget. This blog lists key product development best practices you can benefit from, whether you are launching new software or optimizing an existing product. Take a look!
What is successful product development?
Your company's product development strategy is a plan to create products that meet the needs of your target audience. This includes marketing and promoting the products and making improvements throughout their lifecycle. The ultimate goal is to develop software that satisfies user expectations and drives profitability and growth for your business.
Understanding the product development process
To create a successful solution, it’s important to follow a series of steps, including concept development, market research, design, development, testing, and validation. However, how each step is approached can greatly impact the final product's success.
For software companies, an iterative approach is often the most beneficial. This involves testing the product with real users and adjusting before moving on to the next phase. This approach reduces costs and ensures you’ll meet customer expectations when delivering the final product.
Top product development best practices
Every software company has its own approach to product development that suits its unique business and products. Nevertheless, incorporating these product development best practices can aid any business in devising a well-crafted product roadmap and building a satisfied customer base. Take a strategic approach to product development by embedding these practices into your processes.
Defining clear goals for a project is crucial for keeping it on track. Companies that prioritize setting objectives and balancing idea generation with business goals will achieve the highest ROI.
When setting objectives, it's important to be specific and limit the number (we suggest three to five). These objectives can be aimed at solving a problem, entering a new market, or challenging a competitor.
Make sure your whole team is focused on achieving these objectives. For instance, instead of a broad objective like "Create an app that increases security," set a specific objective like "Develop an app for field workers that includes two-factor authentication."
The goal-setting stage of the project is also an opportunity to list every reason the project could fail. Recognizing the elephants in the room so you can address them early will give the project a better chance at success.
Market Research and Analysis
Before investing time, money, and resources into a project, it's crucial to determine if there's a market for it. Conducting market research can give insight into whether the idea will appeal to consumers.
Additionally, it can assist your company in defining its target market and the appropriate selling price of the software. For instance, market research can provide valuable information on whether potential customers would find certain features useful.
Market research techniques include online surveys, phone surveys, customer interviews, and focus groups. To create a total view of your market, you should also perform a competitive analysis and research other factors that could impact a successful launch. Your marketing and sales team can then utilize this data to include in their pitch to customers.
Before you can create a solution, you need to understand the problem. While software teams typically rely on their technical expertise to engineer a solution, it's worth considering a human-centric approach. By incorporating behavioral science principles and designing software that mirrors human decision-making patterns, the end result will be an exceptional customer experience.
This perspective also helps you identify the most pressing problems to solve. Software companies can fall into the trap of trying to include all of the features they envision in their first version, leading to bloat, delays, and higher project costs. Prioritizing users’ problems and factoring in how they think and work can help identify critical paths and set logical priorities.
Working with a specialized company that recognizes the importance of behavioral science in software design can give you the advice and expertise you need to approach problem-solving differently and test and validate your ideas.
Prototyping and testing
When you prototype and test your design, you can assess its effectiveness, experiment with various ideas, and detect and fix any design flaws. Developing a prototype can also help you determine project expenses and distinguish between essential and optional features that could impact your budget and schedule.
When working on your project, you have several prototyping methods to choose from. But a high-fidelity prototype that uses real front-end code can be the most advantageous option. By using existing frameworks like Tailwind, you can simplify the process and create a prototype that provides a realistic user experience. This will allow you to receive more valuable feedback during market research and reach a final product design faster.
To develop a successful product, it's important to have a project manager who can effectively manage cross-functional teams. This team will consist of various professionals, such as software engineers, front-end UI and UX designers, back-end developers, and database managers, who will work together to create the product.
The project manager must be skilled in addressing challenges that may arise due to differences in communication styles, competing priorities, and time constraints. It's important to build trust among team members and welcome input from everyone to achieve the best possible results. While keeping the project on track, remaining flexible and open to new ideas is also advisable.
Customer feedback loop
In order to best serve your users and provide a great user experience, it's important to gather their feedback. There are several effective ways to do this, such as using a short survey that appears when they exit the software, offering a formal survey with an incentive like a promo code, or having a live chat option available.
You can also monitor social media and review sites to get an idea of how users feel about your product. Once you've received feedback, analyze it and address any issues to improve the product and ensure customer satisfaction.
One of the most important product development best practices is understanding that developing a great digital product is an ongoing process. Customers' needs and technology constantly change, and you may find ways to improve your solution. Continuously refining your product will ensure its relevance, keep it updated, and increase profitability. This approach will also help you stay competitive in a fast-changing industry.
How Patent 355 can help
Our services aim to support product development best practices. We offer expert guidance throughout the entire product development process, from ideation and design to validation and launch. Our comprehensive approach includes landscape assessments, needs finding, and qualitative and quantitative user research.
Our services include high-fidelity prototyping, which provides a realistic representation of your new technology and allows for early identification of areas that need improvement. This leads to more cost-effective and smoother development. Additionally, we offer UI and UX design, front-end development, and resonance testing.
Does your business follow the product development best practices?
In various software companies, product development processes follow similar steps. They start by identifying opportunities and target customers, then develop products within the given timeline for their launch. However, the most successful product development practices prioritize customers by focusing on their behavior and needs to create products that offer the best user experience.
To make sure your idea is worth your time, money, and resources, it's important to set clear objectives, conduct market research and analysis for valuable insights, incorporate elements of behavioral science, create prototypes, and perform testing early on.
When developing your software product, it’s important to maintain open communication between all necessary resources and departments involved in the project. Additionally, it is crucial to establish a feedback loop to understand user feedback and prioritize future versions of the product. These product development best practices are essential for sustainable growth.
Take this opportunity to evaluate your company's processes and assess whether they're contributing to creating software that offers genuine value to your customers and positions your business for maximum success or if you need a partner by your side.
If that’s the case, book a strategy call today.