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Product development incorporates all steps that are needed to make a product available to the market. This includes researching competitors, conceptualizing to identify the target market, and determining their needs. Product managers are responsible for making a strategy about the product development process. However, they’re not the only people involved in the process. It also requires input from different teams, such as marketing, sales, finance, testing, design, and development.
The first thing you need to do is develop a product when you decide to start or expand a business, and the product should align with your goals. That’s why you need a solid plan to create the right product for your business. Here are some steps you can follow to make the product development process successful:
1. Brainstorm Product Ideas
When you start developing a product, one of the hardest things to do is brainstorm new ideas. You may have a lot of ideas but finding a unique approach can be a struggle. Whether you’re alone or working with a group, brainstorming should be fun and productive at the same time. Here are some elements of a productive brainstorming session:
- Consider everything that can happen.
- Welcome any collaboration and try to combine any ideas.
- As much as possible, try to avoid creative burn out.
- Acknowledge the perspective of others.
- Try to come up with ideas in a short amount of time.
- Encourage being creative and innovative.
2. Evaluate the Ideas
Now that you’ve brainstormed some ideas for your product, it’s time to weigh the pros and cons. Ask team members to write the ideas that they prefer individually. This way, you can make a shortlist of the ideas.
You can list the shortlisted ideas on a whiteboard or a flip chart randomly, and with your team, discuss the benefits and disadvantages of each idea. After that, you and your team can vote on which ideas you’re going to proceed with. This discussion opens an opportunity for innovation and analysis about which ideas can be improved or sacked.
3. Plan Before You Build
The next thing is to build a solid plan for the product since it can be complicated. Creating a concrete plan can help the development process be well-coordinated and much easier. Also, by having a plan, you’ll know what materials or resources you’ll need and when.
One of the vital things you need is to sketch the design of the product. Don’t forget to include the small details. You should also explain and label the different functions and features of the product. This way, you’ll know how the product will look.
List all of the materials that you’ll need to complete the product design. You should also include how much your product will cost, as all of the materials will depend on the budget you’ve outlined.
Since the product that you’re planning to develop could make or break your business, you can hire professionals to help you throughout the product development process. Don’t forget to mention the overall quality of the product that you want to achieve, which can be a guide on what potential customers will like.
4. Create a Prototype
Since you already have a rough sketch of what your product should look like, it’ll be easier to make a prototype. Use the concept sketch to create a virtual prototype. You can also get help from professionals to develop a prototype as they can use various tools such as computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided engineering (CAE), and computer-automated design (CAutoD) before finally creating a physical prototype. By making a prototype, manufacturers will be able to see all the details for the product design you’ve come up with.
5. Partner with Manufacturers, Suppliers, and Producers
With your prototype and plan, you can locate the best supplier or manufacturer to fit your needs. Before signing a contract with a manufacturer, it’s best to consider the following:
- Find someone who can guide you through the process. They should give you answers if you have any questions regarding the manufacturing process.
- Choose a factory that has experience in manufacturing something similar to your product. This way, it will be much easier to produce since they’re already familiar with it.
- Consider the reputation of the factory or company you’re going to partner with. It’s crucial to find a trustworthy company to do business with. This will guarantee that your products will be in good hands.
6. Test the Market
If you’ve produced enough product, you can now test the market. Try different areas to sell your product and figure out where it sells more. Also, collect data on why such an area has a higher consumer demand for your product.
This will allow you to determine whether your product is capable of generating revenue or not. Furthermore, it will give signs if your product needs some adjustments to fit the demands of the market.
Designing a product is not that hard when you follow the right steps. By brainstorming product ideas, you can evaluate and choose which ideas are the best ones to implement. Once you’ve chosen the most promising product design, it’s best to create a plan to guide you throughout the development process.
You may create a virtual prototype based on the plan that you’ve developed. This will allow you to create a physical prototype so you can find the appropriate company to manufacture your product. Lastly, test the market to gather data regarding consumer demands to determine if your product will flourish and if there are anything that needs improvement.