Product development is the processes required to bring a product from being a concept through to reaching the market. There are many steps required to take a product from the early stages in the product development process, from product idea generation and market research through to research and development, manufacturing and distribution.
What is the New Product Development?
Of the millions of consumers who make purchases on a daily, a vast majority of them remain unaware as to what a difficult and tedious a new product development process that each and every product had to endure before they could be in a position to place those products in their shopping carts. In order for a business or an entrepreneur to successfully introduce a product into the market, several hurdles need to be overcome and there must be a thorough understanding of the market, consumers, and competition to ensure that the product is able to fill a real demand and offer satisfaction and quality to customers.
A product development plan should cover the journey from concept to market and engage as many stakeholders as possible in the process to ensure their needs and concerns are addressed, while also engaging with the market to ensure the final product will have market value.
The stages of development required for a product team can be broken down into the following areas:
1. Identify Market Need
The first stage in creating a product is determining if there is a need for it in the market. By speaking with customers and taking on other research activities, such as test marketing and surveys, you should be able to tell if there is interest in your product and the problems that it will solve.
2. Quantify the Opportunity
Just because there is a problem to be solved or an indication of market interest, does not necessarily mean that a product should be created. Not every problem needs a product-based solution and there should also be a willingness for a customer to pay the required price for the solution too.
3. Conceptualise the Product
You team can now begin to get creative and brainstorm ideas to design solutions that solve the problem and meet market needs. This can lead to the creation of several potential solutions that will need to be assessed.
4. Validate the Solution
Prototype design and creation can be costly, so it is worth taking time to assess and validate your concepts. This assessment can be carried out at a conceptual level to weed out those designs that are not worth pursuing further.
5. Build a Product Roadmap
Once the proposed concepts have been settled, it is time for the product management team to create a roadmap for your product. This will identify which themes and goals are to be developed first to solve the most important parts of your challenge. This step should lead to the creation of an early version of the product that can be tested and examined by sections of the market. See below for more information about product roadmaps.
6. Develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Following your product roadmap should lead to the creation of a product that has enough functionality to be used by your customer base. It may not be the finished product but should be enough to test the market and gain initial feedback.
7. Release MVP to Test Users
The MVP should be released to sections of the market to test interest, gain feedback and allow you to begin to determine marketing messages, channels and sales team plans. This can go further than the product itself and also encompass packaging design ideas and pricing. This important stage provides a feedback loop between you and you customer base to provide ideas, complaints, and suggestions to improve your final product.
8. Ongoing Assessment and Development
Using the feedback gained from the MVP release, you can now begin to work on enhancements and changes to your product. By following the feedback from your customers you can make sure your design aligns with their needs. This requires strategic goal setting and may involve several iterations before you achieve a finished product that is ready for market. This step can feed back into the product roadmap and then lead to the subsequent stages being repeated several times. Even when a finished product has been achieved, this stage can continue in order to optimise your product further for later adaptations or improvement.
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