Knowing what to build, when to build it, why you're building it, how to build it, and then actually building it can be incredibly difficult and complicated to pull off. The product development knowledge area will cover how it's achieved.
Deciding what to develop should be a deliberate process of scrutinizing your ideas. An excellent framework for this scrutiny is considering the key dimensions of innovation; desirability, feasibility, viability, and more recently, responsibility (meaning, if all other criteria satisfy, then responsibility asks, "should you do it?"
Deciding what to develop and when can be daunting, yet it could not be more important to get this right. Always consider a prioritization framework that will help you identify quick opportunities (low hanging fruit) vs. where you might need to be more strategic in investing resources. Identifying your main objectives and drivers can plug right into scoring models and value matrices that will add structure that informs your decision-making process
When more rigor is required to prioritize projects or endeavors, a cost-benefit analysis is a framework that should leave no room for guesswork. A proper analysis furnishes as much empirical data that can be compiled, supplemented with estimation techniques where facts are not wholly understood while reserving some space for expert judgment. The result is decision-making with high confidence.
Developing product roadmaps helps achieve alignment on primary objectives and is essential in motivating teams to row in the same direction. More practically, however, roadmaps are vital to understanding when and where you'll spend the organization's resources - This includes capital and human resources. Organizations will allocate budgets, and team resource scheduling will be negotiated, planned, and built into the development team's work allocations. Product Roadmapping is not simply about motivating teams along a journey. It is prudent business practice.
Project Management is an essential competency for any organization. Executing the proper PM methodologies for any endeavor in any industry is key to delivering on objectives with high-quality outputs. Product Development is no exception. The development of new products is almost always predictive in its constraints (scope, budget, time) and are carefully planned endeavors where project management skills will significantly benefit the development process's efficiency, quality, and overall execution.
Developing a new product should always be executed in planned phases (not to be confused with development stages or release cycles). Inside the project execution process group, tailor product development phases to the product itself. It would be best to consider general phases such as ideation, concepts, wireframes, mockups, prototypes, or ultimately moving to minimal viable product production.
Once products are developed and released into the market, they will naturally mature along predictable lifecycles; introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. A unique set of challenges greats each cycle and requires strategic focuses to ensure the sustained viability and success of the developed product.
Expect ongoing development with most products after their initial release. The degree of needed development will depend on the product and its maturity. Although not limited to cloud-based products, continuous development is of particular need with SaaS or other digital products or applications. Release cycles should methodically and meticulously move through some variation of Pre-Alpha, Alpha, Closed Beta, Public Beta, Stable Release/Production Release (General Availability). The goal is not speed of releases, but continuous improvement, compliance, and added value to products.
Once developed products are introduced to the market and put into the hands of sales and service delivery teams, the fulfillment of those services will validate the product's readiness. Development teams are not generally released in the product's Introduction cycle but remain in place to ensure no significant flaws exist in the process or the product itself. The product development teams continue working towards resolution before disbanding to other projects should flaws be discovered.