The startup product development process is complicated. Not only are startups trying to develop a new product, but they are simultaneously starting a business, seeking funding, and attempting to build brand awareness. Pressure and necessity can yield great, creative results, but without discipline and structure, they can also derail a startup.
Successful software development demands commitment in terms of time and money. Whether you want to build a custom mobile app or website, your initial startup idea will likely change in unforeseen ways before you reach a final product.
This post will offer tips and advice that startups can use to improve the product development process. However, you don’t have to be a startup to benefit from the content in this article. If your business is looking to implement a new product development process, the advice in this post can be helpful for any product development team.
Product Development: From Startup Idea to Final Product
The product development process will challenge even the most experienced and prepared development teams. To navigate through the challenges that will arise, your business can remember the following tips and advice:
- Ideate and peer review
- Keep the team small
- Listen to your customers
- Analyze the competition
- Go Agile
Ideate and Peer Review
Your final product will define your startup in the minds of users. Therefore, it is critical to spend time developing a unique app idea. Sometimes, a great idea will turn into a successful startup, but typically, this idea goes through rounds of ideation and peer review before any product development begins.
Why? For one, software development is not cheap. You don’t want to spend money building something that will ultimately need major revisions and cost more money. And two, a good first idea often fails to address the nuanced needs of consumers and meet current market demands. A great idea is only the first step.
Product ideation and peer review will help hone your initial idea into something that will meet the demands of your target audience in a way that is technically feasible. Be adaptable. You might discover that an idea you thought was great doesn’t resonate with users and has no market value. Savvy startups adapt to the needs of their target user. The biggest mistake you can make during product development is to waste resources on untested or unfounded ideas.
Keep the Team Small
Generally, this won’t be an issue for startups since they are already smaller, but it is important to keep your team small to facilitate quick decision-making and productivity. Typically, for product development, a team of six to eight is the ideal size. The vital aspect of team formation is choosing the project manager. The team leader will be hands-on, so they should be an expert in their field and passionate about the project.
If you are having trouble determining how big a team should be, keep the “two-pizza” rule in mind. When Amazon was a startup with a good idea, it operated under the “two-pizza” rule. If you can’t find your team meeting with two pizzas, the team is too big. It is important to get insight and input from several team members, but teams that are too large get mired in inefficiency and indecisiveness.
Listen to Your Customers
Your startup will not be able to build a successful mobile app or web product if it doesn’t understand the unique pain points of its target audience. In addition to defining the pain points of your target audience, your company also has to understand how other options in the market are coming up short. Customer feedback provides startups with some of their most valuable information.
Many startups choose to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to test core features and collect user feedback that can be used to improve the final product. Try to bring customers into the innovation process when possible to hone your product to meet customer needs and fill market demand. You should not be developing solutions in search of problems. If you listen to your target audience, your startup can bring its innovation to where the market opportunity is.
Analyze the Competition
All businesses should keep an eye on their competitors. However, in the startup world, keeping an eye on the competition will help your business prepare for the moment when its product enters the market. Not only will competitor analysis help your startup determine where market deficiencies exist, but it will also help you understand what things work with your target audience.
Competitor analysis can also help your startup innovate. Many startups begin by trying to modify and improve an existing product. Take a look at the features and services being offered by your competitors. Are there any areas you think your startup could improve? Use the experience of your competitors to your advantage. Use what has worked for them and learn from their mistakes to improve your chances of success.
Agile development is a great way to encourage collaboration, respond quickly to changes, and implement a continuous deployment pipeline. You can also combine an Agile development approach with DevOps to produce higher quality code and align your development and operations teams.
This approach to software development is great for businesses of all sizes. However, Agile is perfectly suited for startups because it allows them to pivot quickly and respond to changes that pop up. The Agile approach to development creates a feedback loop for continuous improvement and efficiently speeds up the product development process.
By using an Agile product development approach, your startup can develop and deploy more features in less time.
The product development process is not always simple and straightforward, and there are many ways to approach product development. However, if you assemble the right teams and take the time to analyze the market, your target audience, and competitors, your startup will position itself for success. If you want to know more about the intricacies of startup product development, reach out to an experienced app development partner for additional tips and advice.