7 Critical Steps To Take Before You Start Building Your Product

software product engineering practices

With building a product, comes anxiety. Doubts, the fear of failure, and constant self-doubt might overwhelm you enough to make you want to stop the entire process in the first place. However, as long as you take the steps you need to, this can be avoided completely. But the question is – “Where do I begin? How do I work through my product’s developmental stage in a way that leaves little to no room for errors?” 

While there might not ever be an answer to building a flawless strategy, there can be an approach that helps you minimize it:

1. Think you’ve done enough research? Think again.

During the stages of your product’s development, everyone is going to say the same thing – “Research is your best friend” or “You can never do enough research!” and that’s mainly because it’s true.  

Research helps you by:

  • Discovering potential errors that might have been made in the same field 
  • Discovering new ideas that could help you follow through with rounds of trial and error to attest commercial success 
  • Analyzing the market allows you to know who you’re up against 
  • Getting reviews that allow you to gain insight into your potential audience’s mindset 
  • And so much more! 

804,398 new businesses were founded in the year 2020 (in the USA alone!). The market is rising and as a product developer, you need to keep up with it. 

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2. Do you know your audience?

While the product is in the development stage, it is important to finish working over all the other factors that come into play, for example, the target audience. Keeping the USPs and the use of your product, you will need to identify the audience that’s going to be interacting with your product the most.

This helps in working over the overall tonality of your product’s execution, whilst also giving you the benefit of understanding what kind of a marketing mindset will work best. It is vital to remember that your communication might not always be the same as your audience, which is essentially how target audience identification can help you relate to the future users of your product. 

3. What problem are you solving?

A product’s creation is an intriguing process. There are many problems in the world that are waiting to be solved – it’s up to you to decide which one you can help overcome.  

Think of it from the mindset of the user; why should they interact with your product? What are you bringing to the table? Has it been done before? If yes, then how is yours making their life easier? 

Your product should be designed to win over the audience you’ve identified. If you’re unable to help them understand the ‘need’ of your product, you will fail to fulfill the role your product is meant to play. 

4. Reduce your costs

Although this goes without saying, it can be hard to follow through with. Unless you’ve budgeted and planned all your expenses, you might not be able to track your costs. Poor management of costs from the beginning of the product’s development can eventually lead to the downfall of your product. 

MVP (Minimum Viable Product) Development can be done with the help of well-defined technology roles, function requirements, feature alignments, and focusing on the product scope that your users care about. This helps you cut down all of your expenses and focus on spending only for the right reasons.

5. Identify your shortcomings - and overcome them

While developing a product, you’re going to be greeted with numerous problems. From coming across a competitor that has pretty much done everything you thought you could do to understanding that not everything is going to be perfect in the first go, product development is a process and not an end goal. 

There will be certain things that your product will be perfect at and certain things that simply won’t work out. However, it is important to keep your brand’s image intact by winning the user over by focusing on providing a solution to the problem. As long as you’re able to work towards the solution, you will be able to grab the attention of your audience – one at a time. 

Don’t be demotivated by your shortcomings, aim to overcome them in the long run.

6. Product discovery workshop

Rome wasn’t built in a day – and neither was a product that’s going to keep your company in line with the modern competitive market. After all, the market waits for none. 

However, most businesses make the crucial error of rushing the process and while you might have been able to work out some of the details yourself, a product discovery workshop is designed to help YOU become a better planner for your product’s launch. Without following a proper way of work towards building your product, your business could end up presenting a lump of coal in a crowd of diamonds – even if your idea is right.

Essentially, the product development cycle hosts 6 steps:

  1. Planning 
  2. Analysis 
  3. Design 
  4. Implementation 
  5. Testing & Integration 
  6. Maintenance 

The initial stages of creating a new product can grow to be some of the more exciting ones. Since it’s one of the few times you can let your mind explore every single idea that comes your way, the creative and practical independence that comes with the initial planning and analysis stage of the product can barely be matched over time – which is why it’s important to nail it. 

While most ideas might come your way through a single brainstorming session with your team, sometimes, it’s important to go the extra mile to get your brain juices flowing. But how can you do that, you ask? 

Through product discovery workshops. 

But what are product discovery workshops? 

“…Are they even that important?” is a question that arises in every mind. Since workshops can turn out to be time-consuming, it’s a common thought that crosses one’s mind and while the idea of workshops might never be viewed as ‘essential,’ they’re beneficial. Here’s why: 

Product discovery workshops are a major part of the planning and analysis stage of a product’s development. The workshops are designed to help you gain better insight into the core elements of your product, including how viable the execution of it is.

During the time of your workshop, you will be able to:

Hold intensive discussions

Through workshops, you gain access to spaces of creative and practical indulgence. By evaluating the feasibility of a product idea together, you increase the realism in your approach by discussing topics that might not have crossed your mind otherwise.

Collaborative-decision making

There is no work without a team and there is no discussion with only an ideator present in the room. Through product discovery workshops, you’re able to interact with people with different mindsets – analytical, logical, creative, and more. This can be highly beneficial when it comes to finalizing your decision going forward.  

Technical feasibility

As mentioned earlier, a team of different mindsets can be critical in understanding the true feasibility of a product. Sure, the idea is great – but is it ahead of its time? Will the product’s creation be probable with the technical access your company or even country holds? What does the competitive market look like? Do you have the budget for it?

All of these are important questions that can be answered during a workshop.

Budget considerations

Your budget is going to play a huge role in the development process of the product. Studies show that if you fail to consider your budget from the very beginning of your product’s development, you will end up with a lack of resources, lack of savings, lack of security, unscathed spending, and ultimately, much more financial stress.  

Budgeting allows you to judge the realistic approach towards your product. Is the development worth the money? Will it be bringing enough returns to be making a risky investment?

Expert consultation

Product development allows you to explore a new side of you – one that’s eager and ready to learn new ideologies and ways of technology that can help along your new journey. Luckily for you, product development workshops are designed in a way that considers this. 

Experts of a variety of fields are brought under the same roof, allowing you to question anything and understand everything.

All in all, a conducting product discovery workshop can help you identify everything you need to do before you’re certain about the final product – from planning to testing and integration.

7. Test before you launch

You might think you’re ready to get your product up and running but it’s important to remember that your product has only faced the eyes of your internal teams so far. Testing a product before its launch can help you understand the work that’s still left. For example:

  1. Is the product working the way it’s supposed to? Is it responding in the way that’s expected? Are there any glitches/malfunctions? 
  2. During the testing, get the beneficial and non-beneficial aspects of the product noted down. These can help you realise what’s missing in your product still. 
  3. Will your product be able to survive the competition? 
  4. Is your product capable of solving the problem that it was made for? 
  5. What are all the shortcomings of the product that can be worked on before its launch? 
  6. Is it important to launch an update immediately after or focus on bettering the product in a way that completely changes its approach? 
  7. And many more… 

It’s important to remember that the number of questions will never end. As long as your research and analysis team is strong enough to give you the right pointers, you can build your product to be launched in a way that there is little to no room for your shortcomings to be identified. 

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