Let me bring it closer: The phone you are using was not the initial idea that somebody sat down and decided to mass-produce. It is a result of countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears that the development team endured to come up with the final product.
What is Product Development?
Product development refers to the stages that a product undergoes: from an initial idea, launching into the market, and beyond. Different organizations have different ways of developing their products. A couple of product development frameworks exist, they include:
- The Design Thinking Approach
- The New Product Development (NPD) framework
What Are the Product Development Stages?
Developing a product is both challenging and fulfilling as no two products launches can be the same. However, the common stages through which the products undergo, are more or less the same, and include:
Stage 1- Generation of an idea– This is sometimes referred to as Ideation and involves identifying market needs and brainstorming on the various concepts arising.
Stage 2- Conceptualizing the product– This involves coming up with various designs and settling on the best, after doing proper market research. The next stage is to develop the Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
Stage 3- Developing a minimum viable product (MVP)– This is the outcome of prototyping and is referred to as a prototype. It is then tested and refined, based on the feedback generated from the targeted market.
Stage 4- Initial design– This phase includes production based on the prototype while having the targeted market in mind. The input of the target market is also key as various iterations are made to come up with the final product. Once this is done, then validation and testing can be embarked on.
Stage 5- Testing– This is the process of ensuring that every part of the product is functioning as per requirement before being released to the general public. Designing the product for market launch is the next step.
Stage 6- Launching– Once all the above stages have been completed, all that’s left is to gauge the success of the product. This can be through revenues generated or the acceptability of the product.
Benefits of product development include:
- Meeting consumers’ needs creates a higher value proposition for the brand and company.
- More revenue to the company as consumers are eager to be associated with the new product.
- Creates a culture of innovation since the needs and preferences of the consumers keep changing.
Shortcomings of product development include:
- Unexpected product failure even after having success with the prototype.
- Unavoidable circumstances may render the manufacturing material’s quality to decline. This can affect the final product under development.
- While testing, the product might fail and this will translate to loss of time and resources.
Product development should not be left to the production department alone, but rather encompass all other departments like human resources, finance, marketing, and many others. The production department must have a plan which includes:
- Having a vision
- Having a roadmap and
- Implementing the roadmap