If you are reading this article, you are probably already familiar with the standard steps involved in developing a new product.
The product development process can be simple as coming up with an idea, creating a prototype, testing the product, gathering market feedback, making adjustments, building the final product, launching the product, and continuing analyzing along the way.
However, often you’ve done all this and you are still running into problems. It could be that you are not thoroughly going through each step or you are missing a step — but it could also be something else internally within your company that is negatively impacting your product development.
Let’s take a look at some strategies that could help you improve your product development process.
1. Identify Pain Points
First, if you can, it is incredibly helpful to identify what exactly isn’t working. You will likely have to make adjustments to your strategy piece by piece and hope that, eventually, something will be the answer. However, it is better if you can do some analysis to try to clearly pin down the pain points ahead of time.
However, pain points are common in the product development process. Everyone has them. They just might vary from one company to the next. To help, some of the most common product development pain points to look out for include:
- Practicality — If the product is not useful or doesn’t bring value to the customer, it is not viable.
- Long-term viability — In other words, it is not something people will continue to want or need.
- Miscommunication — There may be organizational silos and poor collaboration within your product development team or between your team and others throughout the company.
- Bad timing — It might need to launch at a different time, or you might have missed your opening and released it too late after other comparable competitor products launched.
- Unclear goals — You may not know what you want to achieve with your product and that can have a negative impact on the development process.
These could be some of the issues you are having, and addressing them could help you reevaluate and develop a better strategy moving forward.
2. Conduct More Product Testing
Product testing is a crucial phase is the product development process. A lack of testing, or very limited testing, could be the problem. It is not uncommon for brands to rush a product to the launch phase without much testing, if any, to get the launch timing right. While timing is important, testing is even more so.
Perhaps you need to go back and test some more. Expand your test groups, make sure you are testing the right groups and audiences, and ensure you are asking all the right questions so you can get as much information as possible to help you make the right adjustments.
You could even try varying your testing methods. There are multiple different types of product testing, including:
- Concept testing;
- Quality assurance testing;
- A/B testing;
- Market testing;
- User testing;
- Regression testing.
Determine which testing is right for your specific situation. It could require a combination of some of the above in order to get the full picture of what’s clicking — and what isn’t clicking — in your product development and marketing process.
3. Genuinely Listen to Feedback
When conducting market and user testing, it is important to take feedback to heart. If you test your product on users but then dismiss or ignore them because you simply don’t agree or don’t like what they have to say, your product will suffer for it.
Testing is done for a reason. There are nuances that your target market and users will see and catch that you won’t because you are too invested in the project. The product is also for the users, so you want to listen to them if they have complaints or suggestions. The product is for them, after all. Listen to them and genuinely make it for them.
4. Update Your Tech
Perhaps your product development team doesn’t have the right tools and resources they need to efficiently get the job done. Product development will always be better if things are automated and can get done more easily without errors, which means making sure you are using the right technology.
However, it is not just about having the right tech but also making sure your team knows how to use it. Implementing new protocols or new software and tools requires a training period. If you already have good tech, the problem could be that your employees don’t know how best to use it to make it most effective.
Furthermore, make sure you aren’t just relying on fancy tech to get the job done. It is not uncommon for companies to put more thought into their technology than they do their employees. If your product development team has the tech they need, for example, but there are poor management and communication issues, it can negatively impact the development process.
5. Take a Closer Look at Workplace Culture
On that note, if you have good tech and have done all the other necessary steps and are still having issues, it might be your workplace culture that is the problem. Team dynamics and corporate culture can impact product development.
In other words, if your employees don’t like where they work, don’t feel comfortable, aren’t appreciated, and aren’t given the right tools to grow, they will not be as efficient and productive when working on projects. Your workplace needs to support its employees.
You need to create space for open communication, collaboration, equity, and inclusive mindsets. The company needs to be welcoming and show its employees you care about them by empowering them and giving them the tools they need to succeed.
Without these things, negative company culture can fester and impact the work your teams are doing. Take a look at your office culture and make improvements as needed, and see if this might help improve the success of your product development.
6. Reevaluate Your Product Launch Strategy
The marketing and launch of your product could also be the problem. You might have the best product, but if your marketing and launch strategies are poor, it won’t matter. You can have a great product, but it likely won’t be as successful if you aren’t adequately shining the light on that product.
Thus, take a step back and reevaluate your product launch process. Ask yourself and your team:
- Is the current content working?
- Are you targeting the right audience?
- Are you launching at the right time?
There are numerous things that play a role in the launch of a product that can impact the overall success of that product.
Strategies to Improve Product Development Process
If you’ve tried to develop and launch a product without success, take a closer look at these tips and strategies to help you improve your product development process:
- Identify Pain Points.
- Conduct More Testing.
- Genuinely Listen to Feedback.
- Update Your Technology.
- Take a Closer Look at Workplace Culture.
- Reevaluate Your Product Launch Strategy.
Sometimes, there is too much focus on the standard product development process that you are missing something else that is getting in the way.
It could be something that is a standard part of the product development process itself that is a pain point, like product development costs and budget problems, or a lack of testing. Or, it could be something outside the standard process, such as poor communication and workplace culture.
By recognizing the correct pain points, rather than simply looking at the “usual suspects” in product development, you can make more accurate adjustments and improvements as needed to ensure a smoother and more successful product launch.
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Ainsley Lawrence is a writer who loves to talk about good health, balanced life, and better living through technology. She is frequently lost in a good book.