We've started a series of guides on how to develop a new product and manage the entire new product development (NPD) process with our previous blog post. As we explained before, the new product development process plays a major role in whether your new product will become a success or a failure. It is our goal to help you out on that journey with practical how-tos and to share our extensive knowledge with developing plenty of digital products following the principles of product-market fit and product-led growth.
In Part 2 of the New Product Development (NPD) Guide you will learn:
- Why is it more important nowadays to follow the steps of the NPD process than ever before?
- How to successfully run steps of the NPD process before the final step - product launch and scaling?
We're in the middle of the new digital products mass development and a major shift in the way people use and buy them. Over the years, the market has been literally flooded with digital products that promise to meet just about every need under the sun. Yesterday's most exceptional product experiences are no longer exciting---they're expected. Since people are exposed to so many products nowadays, they want immediate gratification and quickly give up on products that don't provide it. If you ask any product and digital marketing experts you'll learn that, for instance, lots of developed & launched mobile apps get to be open only once after installation and are then abandoned completely, or how the average retention rates have continued to decrease over the years. On the other hand, it's easier than ever to start a company, which means more companies - more competition. Consumers now have access to an ever-growing list of products that can deliver on their expectations. In our previous blog post, we've covered the first step, which is rather complex and crucial to be initiated the right way for the product to be a success eventually. So, let's dive into the next steps of new product development the right way...
Since we've realized that new product development is hard and that our ideas are going to fail more often than they are going to succeed, it's never been so important to do it the right way. As we've already explained the first step - product discovery and walked you through it, let's now focus on the next big thing - designing the new product.
The key to successful product design is understanding the end-user customer, the person for whom the product is being created. Product designers attempt to solve real problems for real people by using all the previously explained phases of Step 1. This is where the actual product design comes into the scene.
In this phase, the focus is on product design but also refinement of the previous product discovery step outcomes. It includes cross-functional teamwork on the following:
- Building the product roadmap - with a legitimate product concept in hand, now it's the time to build out the product roadmap, identifying which themes and goals are central to develop first to solve the most significant pain points and spark adoption. The product roadmap is the tool that helps you organize your development priorities and it is updated through the entire process of product development.
- Releasing the MVP to users - running experiments and tests can gauge interest, clear the air around which marketing channels to prioritize and how to craft the right messages, as well as begin testing the waters around price sensitivity and pricing plans. It also kicks off the feedback loop to bring ideas, complaints, and suggestions into the prioritization process.
- Ongoing iteration based on user feedback and strategic goals - with the product in the market and in front of the real users, all future product enhancements, expansions, and changes will be driven by the real user feedback via various channels. Over time, the product roadmap will evolve based on this learning and the objectives the company sets for this product. This is never-ending work and it should be happening in continuous loops, and you simply must do it. Another benefit of this step is that you start connecting with your customer base at an early stage. If you use real customers for your iterations, you also promote the upcoming product and build stronger relationships with them.
- It's time to implement the roadmap for maximum impact - once the product roadmap is agreed upon, it's time to make things happen. All the teams involved in implementation can create schedules and generate iterations of the product. By doing this, it creates a feedback loop from customers, the sales team, and support, identifying new opportunities, pointing out shortcomings, and shining a light on areas to hone, improve, and expand.
After the above-mentioned steps and activities are prepared, it's software development that comes next.
When creating a product, this step is usually very fragile and can become the most expensive step of all. On top of that, new digital product development is not something that is done quickly from the technological point of view.
Product engineering is what you actually need in the case of new digital product development. Product engineering takes a different approach, focusing on the end goal and understanding end-users and their problems. Instead of throwing complex technology at imaginary problems, we as a product dev studio focus on engineering the solution by taking a holistic approach and cross-functionally working with other pros such as product managers, UX/UI designers, data scientists and marketers to deliver a great product.
Product engineering is the different and way better standpoint for the success of the product since it never loses sight of the close interconnection between business needs and requirements and the capabilities of the digital product being built. Product engineering doesn't focus on a particular set of skills across the stack like the common software development companies do. By focusing on the end goal instead of the means to the goal (i.e. particular technology), it allows engineers to think in terms of product and its users, but also to tap into their creative potential and approach product engineering from different angles.
Creating product-led growth and meaningful digital experiences, which are directly linked to your future securing of revenues with the said product, requires a shift in thinking. It's about focusing on delivering digital products that will generate long-term business value and reshaping how companies do business. This is achieved by orienting towards user needs and emphasizing constant improvement throughout the entire product life-cycle.
Stay tuned, there are more steps explained in detail to come...