Creating The Quintessential Product Development Process

Creating The Quintessential Product Development Process

Andrei Kasyanau, cofounder and CEO at Glorium Technologies. Startup advisor and an expert in health and real estate tech.

Every founder and CTO wants their software product development to be accomplished on time and bring a surprisingly good result, but how can you guarantee it?

We have created over 100 tech products for our clients since 2010. Through all of the highs and lows, we have mastered the product development process that brings fast and successful results. While each product is different, the principles for effective product development share much in common.

Below is our tried-and-true process.

Why You Need A Product Development Process

A well-defined product development process makes life easier for you and your contractor. Similar to how a good business plan is a cornerstone for success, insightful development planning is a must-have to get the result you are looking for.

Knowing your target market, the software’s features and compliance pitfalls takes the guesswork out of operations, saving you time and money.

Five-Step Process For The Optimal Product Development

1. Opportunity Validation

When we work with healthcare companies developing new telemedicine apps, they always want to check their viability before investing time and money. For this, our specialists conduct market research via surveys and focus groups with patients, healthcare providers and organizations to understand the following:

• Whether patients would use the app, and how frequently.

• The types of services patients would like to receive via app.

• How the app could address the challenges patients face.

• The types of services providers may deliver through the app.

• The potential impact of the app on healthcare outcomes.

In order to see whether respondents are really into your idea or are just being nice, ask for their email to add it to the early bird subscription list. If they agree, congrats!

2. Design

Here, our UI/UX team creates the product’s interface and user experience—what people will see and what they will click. In design development, we stick to the following steps:

• Wireframes. The basic sketches of the product’s layout and user interface. The goal is to define the elements’ placement and users’ navigation through the app.

• Mockups. Detailed product drafts showing each screen’s visual design, including the colors, fonts and images.

• Clickable prototypes. Allow users to interact with the interface as if it was real, giving the design team feedback on how the product should function and feel.

• User testing. Gather feedback on the product’s design and functionality to make changes and improvements to the layout.

• Design specifications. To ensure further alignment with the initial vision, the design team will create detailed specifications and instructions for the development team.

For testing, you want some options but not so many that would put your users into “decision paralysis.” The sweet spot is two or three variants.

3. Development

This is where the magic happens and code gets written. The software developers build the product based on the design specifications. We always include the following steps in this stage:

• Front-end development. Making the user interface as well as building out the screens and interactive elements.

• Back-end development. Enabling the server side of the product as well as building out the database and other elements that allow it to function.

• Integration testing. The team will conduct integration testing to ensure all of the product’s components work together seamlessly.

• Debugging and troubleshooting. Bugs, imperfections and issues in the product get fixed as they arise.

• Performance optimization. Improving loading speed, applying data caching and optimizing server infrastructure to make the product run quickly and smoothly.

• Quality assurance. The QA team tests all expected requirements and functions of the product.

Make engineers work closely with the design team to eliminate the back-and-forth and align the product with the validated vision on the go.

4. Compliance

By having a rigorous compliance process, the development provider can minimize the risk of regulatory penalties, data breaches or other legal issues for the client.

• Regulatory compliance. It’s integral to have the product follow relevant laws and regulations (HIPAA for healthcare products, GDPR for personal data, etc.).

• Security compliance. Enforcing relevant security standards, such as ISO 27001 or SOC 2, to protect sensitive data and prevent unauthorized access.

• Quality management. Having software products meet all requirements as well as be reliable, stable, and easily maintained and updated.

• Documentation. List the product’s features, functionality and specifications in a format that’s easily accessible to relevant stakeholders, regulatory bodies or auditors.

• Validation and verification. The team double-checks all previous steps with tools like user acceptance testing, penetration testing and vulnerability scanning.

Establish a change management process to have any product changes tested and validated. This can help avoid unintended compliance breaches.

5. Launch And Iteration

Launching a software product requires careful planning. We recommend our clients start preparing for launch right after the validation stage and follow these steps:

• Define your strategy. Know to whom, how, why, when and where you will sell your solution.

• Launch the product. Stay calm, observe and gather feedback from your early adopters.

• Analyze user feedback. Identify issues and prioritize improvements based on impact and feasibility.

• Plan iterations. Address the issues—focusing on minor, achievable improvements with each cycle.

• Develop and test. According to the change management process, thoroughly test new features before deploying.

• Iterate and improve. Update your product based on user feedback and metrics, delivering user value.

• Measure success. Track and measure the success of your iterations based on your KPIs.

To cut the time to market, you can launch an MVP with the main feature first and then have iterations where you add additional features one by one.

Iteration is a process of continuous innovation where each cycle brings the product one step closer to its full potential, exceeding expectations and delighting users.

Ready To Start?

These are the stepping stones to crafting your dream software product. To run a great partnership with your software development contractor, ensure you have straightforward communication, realistic goals, milestones and defined project scope and requirements. Make all arrangements on the shore, which can guarantee smooth sailing.

Forbes Technology Council is an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives. Do I qualify?