Planning a software development project for your business? Here’s a detailed guide on the various stages and life-cycle of Software Product Development!
- What Is Software Product Development?
- How To Gauge When Your Business Needs Software Product Development?
- How To Prepare For Software Product Development
- 5 Essential Stages Of Software Product Development
- Tips To Select The Right Partners For Software Product Development
- Healthier, Better Business With Software Product Development
Behind all the conveniences that we use in our everyday life, there is complex software. Such ease of life is possible when complex software is implemented in various stages in definitive order. These models address the diverse circumstances of product owners and development vendors.
However, such a rich choice can be confusing. To fully benefit from the development process and successfully communicate with the development team, you must realize your needs and expectations from the product.
Here is a complete guide to help you understand and organize the complex process of Software Product Development – what each stage means and how you can drive a successful Software Product Development project.
What Is Software Product Development?
Software Product Development is a combination of steps, tools, methodologies, and management techniques that bring the concept of a product from the ideation stage to implementation and eventually to the market.
The primary goal of Software Product Development is to provide high-level products within the set budget and timeline. Typically, the software development lifecycle includes product discovery, software development, testing, deployment, and so on.
How To Gauge When Your Business Needs Software Product Development?
Every business in today’s fast-paced and volatile world needs Software Products. Software Products help your business gain momentum and a competitive advantage for your business. Here are some scenarios that indicate when your business needs Software Product Development.
1. When your company starts experiencing low efficiency and miscommunication-related issues.
Are your current methods of collecting data complicating the effective management of your company? Have you noticed miscommunication between your employees and managers resulting in missed deadlines? If these are restricting your business from reaching its potential growth, you need software development.
2. When your supply chain has many bottlenecks
A dissatisfied customer will quickly hop over to your competition. Bottlenecks created by miscommunication lead to loss of opportunities. When your company is dealing with a higher volume of complaints and low satisfaction rates, you need software development. It can optimize your supply chain management and guide all your decisions.
3. When your business is growing
Despite exponential business growth, the quality of your products and services should continue to be of the highest standard. Product development can help you comply with government regulations, evaluate the quality of the suppliers and the quality of your product.
4. When your customer base increases
When your customers increase, data increases. And that data has to be organized and maintained to help you make better understand your finances and use it to make strategic decisions. Product development can provide you visibility into all transactions contributing to the financial health of your company.
5. When your company is expanding to other locations
When your organization expands to other locations, you will need a fully visible information system that records all that happens at that exact location. Software Product Development equips you with the possibility to record all inventory movements in real-time.
How To Prepare For Software Product Development
All Software Product Development needs detailed documentation. This documentation must cover the business requirements and clarify product functionality. It can also serve as the basis to discuss essential issues between business owners and developers. Here is how you can prepare to start a successful Software Product Development:
- Do your homework: Even before searching for a vendor for Software Product Development, you need to conduct marketing research. Qualified marketing research will help you achieve your sales growth now and in the future.
- Develop precise product vision: Work out the “whys” in projects that are focused on the main product. You can eliminate mistakes by answering questions such as, “who is the product for?” and “why do they need the product?”
- Plan: Have a clear vision and communicate that vision to the development team. This will help them to create a software product that is aligned with your requirements.
- Timely execution: Have a written communication with designers and engineers to nudge them in the right direction. This will contribute to well-articulated timely execution.
- Make team members accountable: From day one, help your team members see their share of tasks that contribute to the development of the software product.
- Document everything: Keeping a record of everything from ideation to execution can help your team to access all the features that must be included in the product and the functions each of those features must perform.
5 Essential Stages Of Software Product Development
Stage 1: Product Discovery
The first stage in the Software Product Development lifecycle is where new ideas or concepts originate. A team is organized to study the idea, perform market analysis, and identify technical and market risks. This will help organizations to determine the need for Software Product Development.
Stage 2: Product definition
In this stage, the team creates the first comprehensive evaluation of the technology. Developers and managers evaluate the important points of differentiation of the new product. This will avoid misinterpretation of the needs of the market.
Stage 3: Product development
This is the most time-consuming stage. Software developers use the design document to write code for the components. The task is divided between team members according to their area of expertise. This includes front-end developers, database administrators, and software developers.
Stage 4: Product testing
Quality assurance team steps in this stage to ensure the software meets all the requirements for which it was built. It involves functional testing, performance testing, unit testing, security testing, and usability testing.
During this stage, software developers fix any bugs and retest as many times as required. This stage continues until the software is free of bugs and measures up to the potential capability.
Stage 5: Product deployment
Now, the software is sent into the market for user acceptance testing. Once again, the software team fixes any bugs based on the feedback from its first users. Then the final version is launched into the market. This stage also includes maintenance and strengthening of the software.
Perhaps now you feel you are ready to start Software Product Development. But, hold on! Selecting the right partner for Software Product Development will impact your company in the long term. So, read on to find a few tips that can help you define the right partner.
Tips To Select The Right Partners For Software Product Development
Selecting the right partners is an important decision that should not be treated lightly. So, here are few tips:
1. Conduct a background check on the company
To validate the company’s experience and professional trajectory, contact some organizations that have worked with the vendor. This will help you know their experience and the final outcome of the product.
2. Check their ability
For your product to be of excellent quality, the vendor should have abilities and excellence in software development. To guarantee their excellence, find out if they have QAG (Quality Assurance Group) or GMO (Organizational Improvement Group).
3. Knowledge of different methodologies
Solid methodological training and experience in using various technologies are vital for product development.
4. Ability to support throughout the cycle
Ensure that the vendor does not abandon the project at any of the stages.
5. Ability to understand your business
All in the team should be able to understand your unique business requirements and help you find the best solution aligned with your objectives.
6. Capable testers
Ensure the vendor in consideration has qualified testers who can guide you on how to perform your own tests.
Healthier, Better Business With Software Product Development
It may be time for you to start thinking about Software Product Development that helps you run a healthier business. True, it requires an investment of time and money. However, in the long run, you will realize that you have saved time and money by enhancing customer satisfaction and improving employee retention. We at Fingent ensure a streamlined product development process that simplifies both deployment and transition. Call us to see how you can get this started for you right away.
The third industrial revolution or the “digital revolution” has been doing its magic in different industries, since almost the late 1970s. We have all been embracing digitization in our businesses, and have come a long way from our old paper and pen based systems, haven’t we?
But what about our customers?
How much of an impact do you think the digital revolution has had on our customers?
True, they want almost everything at their fingertips these days, which is a clear indicator on how they are catching up, and how much they love digitization as well.
But customer perceptions change as societal trends change, all driven by digitization and it is important to be on the same page as your customers are, so as to channel your customer service efforts. Branding through customer service helps your company in increasing customer satisfaction levels as well as in improving your overall efficiency.
Before we get into how customer perceptions are changing, let’s take a look at why customer perception is important.
Why is Customer Perception Important?
The field service market, or any market for that matter, is extremely crowded these days. You literally have at least a hundred companies to compete with, to say the least.
Moreover, the number of customer touch points, such as online ads, ratings and reviews, have also increased, making it all the more important for companies to maintain their status and goodwill, at all times everywhere.
With so many competitors and customer touch points, it becomes more difficult for you to stand out and make yourself seen, especially since customers’ buying decisions get easily influenced by what they see these days.
Here is how technology has changed and is changing customer’s’ perception of businesses.
Changing Consumer Perceptions
The general trend of consumers is to get inclined towards companies that use technology, mainly because of the benefits that such companies provide. Customers perceive a technology adopting company to be modern and up to date with the latest “convenience tools” for them.
Here are some aspects in which customer perceptions are changing:
Safety and Security
Customers prefer companies that provide more weightage to the safety and security of their customers. No customer would want to find that the personal information they provided to the company was used for other purposes. And companies that make use of sophisticated technology to make sure of that are obviously going to be the winners here.
For example, AirBnb – one of the most trusted accommodation listings around the world, has their whole design system built around trust. For AirBnb, building a strong reputation system was the key to trust, and they researched on people’s behaviours revolving the trust factor to know more. They found that people generally tend to trust other people who they have more in common with or who are more like them, and not those who are different in nature. When put together with the reputation factor, they also found that people were ready to trust even those people who are different from them, if they heard about 10 good reviews about them.
Even with the case of information sharing with their customers or even prospects, they found that there are limits and that there are such things as “too less info” and “too much info” that could adversely affect their business. Asking for a lot of information about the prospect, and asking for too few details, while communicating with them were both found to have a bad impact on the trust factor. It made them design an information box, that could fit just the right amount of info while communicating with their customers, which earned more trust.
Hence, AirBnb were able to leverage their customers’ perception of safety and trust, to improve their business.
The quality of service is definitely one of the top priorities of customers. They always prefer companies with which their dealings or transactions are transparent, and the quality of the availed service is always top notch.
For example, Amazon.com – one of the largest e-commerce sites, always makes sure that their customers’ purchases, as well as payment transactions are transparent, and that their customers get due notifications on their registered email ids and phone numbers, right from the time they place their orders, to the time it is delivered. The customers are always kept on the loop so that they know exactly where their order has reached in the processing cycle. And upon receipt of the order, the customers also have the option of returning their order, if they are not happy with it, in which case their money is refunded too, promptly.
The more personalized experiences that companies provide to customers, the more customers they get. Customers always love exclusive attention and as they get more offers and promotions that suit their interests, they become more loyal to the companies that provide it.
Amazon.com again is a good example of a company that makes maximum use of customer’s’ perception of personalization. They analyze individual customer purchase patterns online and send out exclusive promotions and offers accordingly to specific customers, which makes their customers come back for more.
One of the biggest turn-offs for customers is a website or an app that is difficult to use. Even if customers generally turn to companies that are abreast with the latest technology, they are most likely to leave halfway, if the technology is not simple and easy to use. Hence, simplicity and a user-friendly design are must have features for companies, if they want to win customers.
For example, AFCO – a leading service process management partner that works with various industries including water management, food manufacturing, and food safety, uses a mobile application to help its field agents perform food audits more efficiently. The application is simple to use and allows its clients to automate their processes in a hassle free manner. There are also separate user roles for the admin as well as for the clients, enabling their clients to view information pertaining to their company alone.
People are all in for innovation, and by all means, a company that uses innovative techniques and develops innovative products definitely stand a better chance for success. The key is to use technology in such a way that there is a balance between costs and revenue. Something in between low-risk, low-reward in-house innovations and the “out-of-the-box” high-risk, high-reward disruptive innovations – a third kind of innovation.
One of the best examples would be LEGO – the most popular manufacturers of toys for children.
LEGO went from being bankrupt to one of the highest revenue earning toy makers in the world, just with their innovative approach. They have been consistently creating new ways to engage with customers of all ages, all with their regular plastic bricks, by being unafraid to experiment with new technologies. They changed their regular LEGO toy “Bionicle” by including a host of other complementary innovations along with the package, such as comics, books, video games and new packaging. All this made Bionicle irresistible to the target buyers.
Embracing the digital age, they have extended their brand now from physical play to digital play, with their programmable robots, DIY Mindstorm kits and the like.
Companies that utilize these changing customer perceptions and develop products as well as marketing strategies to suit the perceptions will gain the competitive advantage. In this day and age where building brand value through customer service is the key to survival, leveraging customer perceptions can go a long way into making your success.