There's always risk in any business, and that's especially true if you're creating a brand new product. The process looks simple from the outset, but soon you'll find yourself dealing with a huge range of problems. How do you stop these from happening and ensure the whole process goes smoothly? If you avoid these 5 common product development mistakes, you'll be in the clear.
- Not Getting Customer Feedback.
This should be a given when creating any product, but it's amazing to see how often it's missed out. It's all well and good having a great idea, but if you're not talking to your intended audience, then you could create a product that no one wants. To stop this happening, you'll need to collect feedback as often as possible during the creation process. This will give you real insight into what's needed, and what customers want. That way, you're making something that customers will actually buy and use every day.
Remember to use that feedback and let it inform your product development accordingly. It may not always go the way you plan, but it will work out better in the end.
- Focusing Too Much On The 'Minimum' In 'Minimum Viable Product'.
'There's a lot of reasons to try the MVP, or Minimum Viable Product model' says product developer Tim Jeavons at Boom Essays and Ox Essays. 'You'll create the smallest product possible to test customer interest, in order to save money.' This works out well in a lot of cases, but some companies don't actually make the product viable. Then, when they release it, they can't accurately gauge interest as the product isn't properly functional. You need to ensure that your product is stable enough to use, even if you're using a lean start up model. That way, you'll be able to get good data and start working on the second version of your product
- Trying To Add Too Much.
Who isn't excited when they're working on a brand new product? You want to make it the best it can be, so of course you add elements to it that you think would work. Sounds good in theory, but in fact it can create multiple problems for you.
Firstly, having too many features in your plan means it's going to be much harder for you to implement them all. Then, when you get it into the hands of customers, they may find it's too overwhelming, and they just don't know how to use it. Finally, it makes it harder for you to pitch the product, as the scope is too broad. Instead, reduce your scope and focus on solving just one problem for your customers. It's much better to do one thing perfectly than five things pretty well.
- Not A/B Testing As Soon As Possible.
Many companies will avoid A/B testing till the last possible moment, but this will actually hurt your final product. 'Of course you can't test when you have a tiny user base, but as soon as you can get good data, you should be testing' says writer Fiona Malvern from Academized and Stateofwriting. 'That testing will give you what you need to make a good product, rather than going with the opinions of the office.'
Get into the habit of testing as soon as you possibly can. If you're trying out different versions of your product regularly, you'll be able to make adjustments as you go. That makes a much stronger end product.
- Not Being Ready For Success.
That's right, you need to have a plan in case everything goes right, and your product is successful. This is especially true in areas such as software development, as that means you'll get new users. That can lead to product shortages, app crashes, and so on. Have plans in place for what you'll do if you succeed. How will you expand your reach, and keep with customer demand? If you know this, you'll be quicker to react when you need to.
These are all common pitfalls when you're working on a new product, but they're easy to avoid if you know how. Use the tips here to optimize product development, and avoid issues before they arise.