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Best product development methods

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Best product development methods are product development methodologies that are not product development models.

There are product development methodologies through which one can get the product developed faster or more economically, but there are no product development models to develop it faster or reduce cost. There is a subtle difference between the two terms. 

Methodology suggests a system of methods to execute whatever work we do in standard ways and in an effective manner. Product development methodologies consist of guidelines and procedures on how to approach product design and what tools we need to choose, etc., while product development model compresses time and effort required for designing the product in case we have specific requirements like reducing product lead time by 50 percent.

Only when you know your requirements (e.g., reduction in lead time), product development models can provide a structure to product development. Depending on product complexity, the product development model may vary from simple to complex and it decides product design cycle time including product planning time.

Product development methodologies direct us how we should go about product design and product development process whereas product development models show us the way as to how we can achieve our objectives in a short span of time with the same or more quality as compared to conventional methods of product development.

In traditional product development methodology, analysis starts after requirements are documented for which customer input is required from the marketing department followed by some feasibility study on whether this set of requirements can be met or not before going into the designing phase itself which takes a lot of effort and time. 

In contrast, first information about a product is gathered from the marketing department and then the product idea is proved as feasible by using the product development model before its detailed designing phase. This reduces the time needed to take a product from concept to market which makes product development process fast and efficient as compared to traditional product development methodologies.

Some of the best product development methods are:

1. Agile product development: –

It is also known as an iterative and incremental product development model which is actually a group of product development models, such as scrum etc. This product development method has several stages in itself like planning, iteration and review stages where the iteration stage includes all the tasks needed to complete product requirements e.g. product design, software coding etc.

2. Joint application design (JAD):-

This product development methodology is normally used by designers and users who need to reach a common understanding about their visions for new product or software by using participatory techniques that include brainstorming sessions and workshops involving users and different working groups within an organization during the initial phase of the product development process .

3. RAD:-

Rapid application development (RAD) product development methodology is an iterative approach that uses prototyping to evolve product requirements into product specification, product design and finally product code. RAD emphasizes software or product documentation while creating product prototypes through a quick feedback cycle with customers .

4. Scrum:-

Scrum is an Agile framework for managing complex projects which provides clear roles, responsibilities and activities necessary to achieve goals successfully by concentrating on the creation of products in increments known as sprints within timeboxed periods. The important features of scrum are self organizing team members working toward a common goal who meet daily to identify impediments, determine how they will be removed, plan each iteration and create product increment features .

5. Prototyping:-

Prototyping is a technique in product development to shortlist product features which are most likely to be included in product development. Prototyping helps product developers to determine product feasibility by getting feedback from the target audience, testing product ideas and functionality of the product.

6. Rapid prototyping:-

Rapid prototyping is an extension of the prototyping technique. If the earlier prototype was of paper or cardboard based on which mockups were made then rapid prototyping makes use of 3D printing technology to quickly transform product concept into physical form.

These are some of the most commonly used product development methodologies by product managers for product design and development projects. Product managers must keep these points in mind while developing product strategy for their company.

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