Companies that remain relevant in today’s changing world have a common denominator: a product development cycle that keeps pace with customers and their evolving needs. Since the product development cycle is the backbone of any thriving enterprise, it’s important to have a grasp of how it works and the results it drives.
The product development cycle encompasses the following phases: planning, development, evaluation, launch, and assessment. The cycle then concludes with the decision to further iterate or move forward with a working prototype.
During the planning phase, companies determine the need for a product and how to best strategize by asking the following:
- Who is this product for?
- Is there existing feedback (customer reviews, surveys, spending reports) that corroborates the need for this product?
- What, if any, existing products are similar to our proposed product? How do we differ from our competitors?
This is where you start to get into the nitty-gritty of building your product. Product specialist Yoav Farbey recommends breaking the product down into features, “with specification and user stories for each feature.” After this is achieved, Farbey advises ranking features by “difficulty and priority.”
Normally, this initial product will differ from the final product in terms of features. By focusing on the basics during the develop stage, you can easily add additional features at a later stage.
Here is where you get a sense, early on, how your product is doing.
The following are established key metrics by which to evaluate your product:
- Cost of Acquisition
- Rate of Revenue Growth
- AARRR Metrics
After you evaluate, you’re ready to introduce your product to your target audience. Farbey remarks that this initial launch can take place through interviews with key people involved in your product, product launch events, and any other creative venues and avenues you can think of.
Assessment involves looking to metrics and conducting early analysis on your product’s performance thus far. Farbey writes “A/B testing, challenging how to improve a return on investment, and testing what makes a returning customer” are some ways to start your assessment.
As you assess, be sure to take a close look at each individual product feature. From there, you can determine which features should be iterated and which features should be excised.
This stage in the product development cycle also involves examining your approach to advertising and marketing. Is your target audience engaging with your social media as often as you would like? Are emails garnering more attention than videos? Ask how your advertising is complementing your unique product.
Further iterate or prototype
The final stage of the product development cycle involves deciding what you should retain and what you should discontinue. In addition to iterating the features that are proving successful, think about how you can upgrade them and if you’re ready to move forward with a working prototype.
If you’re in the process of bringing a product to market, we’re here to help. With over 46 years of experience helping businesses achieve their potential, Pivot International continues to assist with design, development, and manufacturing for some of the most successful products on the market. Connect with us today for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experts. We can’t wait to hear from you.