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Product Management

Mastering Software Product Development Processes: Key Stages for Success

Understanding the Key Software Product Development Processes for a Successful Launch.

Dmytro LokshynDmytro Lokshyn
February 9, 2024

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

·      Software product development is essential for the tech industry, as it offers a smooth procedure.

·      The development process is different for every company, but planning, implementing, testing, and launching are the main steps.

·      Product creation starts with idea generation, which is followed by screening and conceptualization.

·      Designing a software piece is an essential part of development, as it determines the aesthetics and functionality of the application.

·      The key phases of concept development are idea generation, the actual coding and development phase, and thorough quality assurance.

·      Coding is a very complex process that creates the backbone of the software, offering a computer-readable version of your design.

·      Software product development is an iterative process, which works best when combined with Agile methodology.

Software product development
is a crucial aspect of the tech industry, as it ensures a smooth creational process. By being thorough with this process, teams can allocate resources, arrange tasks based on priority, and share the work that needs to be done.

With a well-defined software product development process, businesses can ease through their development efforts, shortening the time it may take them to get their piece on the market. A thorough plan allows for adaptability in case of changes, preventing delays in long-term projects.

That said, there are many aspects to laying out an effective and detailed development process for software. In this article, we will go over the most important aspects of planning a software product for launch so that you can eventually achieve success.

Laying Out the Foundation – The Basics of Product Development

Each company has its own development process for each item they create, allowing for a targeted release. With that in mind, how many steps are in the new-product development process? While this can be broken down into several different stages, there are the ones that should be respected the most:

·      Planning

The first and most important step in the new product development process is the planning stage, where you set the grounds for the program. At this point, customers may have an idea or two of what they want to obtain but don’t really know what the actual software should look like. Your job is to take these ambiguous (perhaps even contradictory terms) and put them into code. Make sure that the client’s requirements are correct so you can develop a good product management strategy.

·      Implementing

The next step is the process implementation, where you take the plan and put everything into code. This is the “grunt work” of process development and will require a fair degree of knowledge and skill. Tutorials can be used to bring this idea to life, but you’ll need someone who understands the rules of coding and how every sequence works. This is important because even a simple bracket forgotten at a certain point could prevent the entire code from compiling correctly.

·      Testing

Mistakes happen even to the best of programmers, which is why testing is also important. This ensures that there are no bugs in the system that you just created. Should any issues be depicted in the testing phase, the code will go back to the developer, who will then proceed to fix the problem.

·      Launch Planning

The last step of the new product development process is to deploy it for customers to use. Determine when the coding will most likely be finalized and set a launch date. Once the product has been deployed, maintenance should also be provided to deal with newly discovered issues. Product development doesn’t stop with the launch, and until the software is pulled off the market, you will likely have to make the appropriate modifications when needed.

Ideation and Conceptualization – How to Create a Product

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Every piece of software comes with an idea, which can determine whether or not you are off to a good start. Unless you come up with a unique idea, you may not be able to develop a product that brings profit. Paying close attention to the initial stages of new product development can help create a rough draft of a successful idea, which makes the following steps very important.

·      Idea Generation

Idea generation is the first phase of software development, where you can brainstorm as many ideas as you want. This stage aims to come up with multiple ideas for products that are likely to turn into profit. The concepts should be as unique as possible, generating ideas that customers are likely looking for but for which there is nothing on the market. Focus on the suggestions that have potential and are most likely to bring profit in the long run.

·      Evaluation and Screening

Once you have the ideas, you must screen and evaluate their potential. For this, you will have to perform some user need analysis and market research. This stage is a good opportunity for you to shorten your list of ideas, filtering out the ones that are not as favorable. Your goal here is to find one that gives you a chance of success on the market, so choose something where you don’t have much competition to go for. The more saturated the market is for that piece of software, the more difficult it may be for you to make yourself noticed.

·      Conceptualization of the Product

Lastly, when learning how to create a product to sell, you must also conceptualize it. Each piece of software can be turned into different concepts, depending on who your target customer may be. The development team will need to determine exactly who will use the product, when they will most likely use it, and other factors. The goal here is targeted innovation and will likely drive your marketing efforts.

Design and Development – Crafting Your Software

With the concept and idea finalized, it is time to start developing your product. This is where you need to work on the program’s technicalities and ensure it fits the market. Here are the stages of product development that you need to focus on:

1.    Designing the Product

One of the first new product development stages you need to go through when crafting your software is the program’s design. This is where you will want to create a prototype of the application, a rough draft of what you plan the software to look like. You can make numerous designs for the application during this stage, ultimately choosing the one that suits the preferences of the user the most.

2.    Determine the Features

You have an average idea for the design in your head, but this does not necessarily mean the users will find your software piece useful. After all, they won’t care that the program just looks nice; they want to make sure it also works for them. Consider what features should be added to the program to increase its functionality, as this is likely what will draw the people your way.

3.    Launching a Beta Version

With the prototype of your product in mind, you have two paths to go: you can either launch the product as it is or let it go in the form of a beta version. The latter will only give access to the few who have subscribed to it, working as a test release. Bear in mind that while it is a test, you shouldn’t release it without testing it first and running all the quality checks. Treat it as you would any fresh release.

4.   Gathering Feedback

Development doesn’t stop with the release, so now it is time to start gathering feedback from those who used your product. Note down the issues that may appear and focus on the ones people most complain about. Remember that not every user is the same, and some might have unrealistic expectations that you are not supposed to meet in the first place. That said, if the majority advise on specific things, you might want to take them seriously.

5.    Refining the Product  

You have your feedback, so now you need to devise a plan to implement it. Make some adjustments to the original plan so that you can execute the edits without affecting the integrity of the overall software. After that, it will go back to the developers, who will write the code necessary to make it happen.

Selecting the Key Phases – A Closer Look

Software development has some critical stages that developers need to go through for every new product. However, the most important ones are considered to be the following:  

·      Idea and Concept Generation

A critical phase in the new product development process is the idea and concept generation, as this is what ultimately decides your position on the market. Without a good idea and concept and thorough market research, you might end up with a product with which the market is already saturated. This may not even get you through the growth stage. The idea and concept generation stage decides how you compare to your competition and what makes you special.

·      Software Development and Coding

The next stage of importance is the actual coding process, its complexity depending on the scale of the process itself. The more features you add to a program, the more sections must be coded. The code will mostly depend on your programming language, so you need to decide on it from the very start. Most companies use JavaScript, but some prefer Python, SQL, or TypeScript.

·      Testing and Quality Assurance

Last but not least, the testing stage is one of the most important parts of program development, as it ensures your application. About 80 percent of users will abandon the use of a program if they realize that it is bugged. So, it is necessary to conduct thorough quality assurance. Make sure that you run every test possible before you release something to the end user.

From Coding to Reality – The Creation Process

When a piece of software is being created, it must go through some stages, at the base of which lies coding. To learn how to make a product of this type, you need to either have the coding knowledge or hire someone to handle it for you.

Below, you can learn how to create a product from the beginning to the end, thus preventing delays.

1.    Project Planning

The first phase of the software development life cycle is the project planning stage, where you determine exactly what you want to achieve. This part is very important, as it estimates how many resources you’ll need to create a successful product.

2.    Requirement Gathering and Analysis

In the second stage, you’ll have to gather the requirements and make an analysis of the product. This information is taken from the client, which is why some research is required to complete this stage. Depending on the needs of the customer and the software you wish to create, you have to determine whether or not it is possible to incorporate these features into your system. Some of the requirements that you ought to keep in mind are the operating system, hardware, security, and programming.

3.    Product Design

If the previous stage determines that your project is valid and holds promise, it is time to move on to the next one: the design. If you already have an idea of what you want your program to look like and what features your client may require from you, it’s time to choose the programming language. Java and Oracle are the most common, but each piece of software might have different needs.

4.   Coding and Implementation

Now, it’s time for the fun part: the actual coding process. At this point, you’ll have to translate your design into a language that a computer might be able to read. This step will likely be the longest-lasting one, with a lot of headaches and confusion. This is because the developers will need to respect specific guidelines, use debugging and programming tools, and compile a working project.

5.    Testing and Quality Assurance

With the software now coded, it is time to test and see if the system you came up with is functional. Your goal here is to ensure that your program works and that it can efficiently satisfy the customer’s needs. Quality assurance testing should be done from the earliest stages of the coding process to ensure everything works as smoothly as possible.

6.   Product Deployment

Your code is now completed, so it is time to deploy it. You can do so as a direct launch, but you can also do it with a beta version to keep potential issues contained. This way, users can report problems, and you can modify the code to implement their feedback.

7.    Project Maintenance

The coding process never really stops with the release. Software platforms and customer needs change all the time, so a product that works well now could no longer be as efficient in the future. Regular maintenance and coding modifications are important to ensure your product keeps operating bug-free, improving its lifecycle.

The Software Development Product Journey

Product development is an important process that every business owner needs to go through at some point. Without thorough planning, it can lead to delays due to a lack of workflow, which compromises your deadlines and the potential quality of your release. A unique yet very important subset is catered to software development product plans, which are gaining a lot of movement with the digital revolution.

Software development is relatively iterative, focusing on essential steps such as planning, designing, developing, and testing. These processes are cyclical and often repeated whenever you add a new feature to the program. Without a thorough plan, the code for the program can be negatively affected, reducing the overall functionality.

Most developers use the Agile methodology to ensure continuous improvement and reduce the severity of human error during the coding process. With this framework, you break down the process into multiple stages, emphasizing improvement and collaboration. Thanks to this method, the stakeholders follow a well-set process that relies on planning, executing, and evaluating the results.

The Bottom Line

To launch a successful piece of software, you need to understand all the stages and procedures involved with the development process. Starting with the idea generation and following through with the launch, your plan has to be thorough to ensure success without any delays. Use the outlined steps and considerations to improve your own software development process and watch how it earns more and more users upon the launch.

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