If you want a good shot at creating a stellar product, you absolutely must have a solid product development process. Without it, things can derail pretty quickly.
A good product development process will keep everyone focused and on track, and outline the overall strategy. Conversely, a poor product development process has the power to completely destroy an otherwise fantastic product idea. Bad processes can restrict creativity, force people to work in counter-intuitive ways, and ultimately push projects into failure.
Unfortunately, I’m here to tell you that there is no such thing as a perfect product development process. It just doesn’t exist. If you’ve done your research, you’re well aware of the various product development types and strategies out there. Scrum, Lean, Kanban … the list goes on.
You should do your due diligence here and take the time to read and learn about all of the possible scenarios and learn from those who have gone before you. We should never ignore the opportunity to learn from other people’s mistakes, because it will help you to avoid making the same ones.
The important thing to do here is learn, and then make a decision on what’s best for your startup. There is no one-size-fits-all solution here. What matters most is that you gain an understanding of the core principles of effective product development, and use those to help create the ideal product development process that works for you.
When deciding what method to adopt, you’ve got to consider your team, your product, and your entire organization. Once you’ve done your research and carefully crafted your own unique product development process, the most important thing is that you pay attention to the results.
Analyze, Measure & Tweak
As you begin to roll out products, make sure you’re observing and analyzing every step of this process. Where are things going well, and where are you running into problems? You can’t improve what you don’t track, and the only way to know if your product development process is working is to treat this process like any other project.
Creating any type of strategy will always require a degree of experimentation. You’ve got to make your initial decisions to the best of your ability, run with it to collect data, and then make changes and tweaks as necessary to get better results.
Treat Your Team Like Your Customers
Your biggest asset here is going to be your team. When it comes to experimenting and making changes in your process in an effort to improve, your team is going to be your biggest asset. Talk to them and take advantage of what they bring to the table. They likely know better than anyone where the bottlenecks and cracks are in your system, because they’re the ones dealing with them every single day.
If you change your frame of mind to view your team as your customers for this product development process you’ve created, it suddenly becomes much easier to ask for feedback and insight. User experience isn’t just for your website or apps - the same principles can be applied to your internal systems and processes.
There will never be an ideal product development process for everyone - you’ve got to create that for yourself, and then do the work to continuously improve your strategy until it becomes your own uniquely perfect process.