What Is Product Development?

Product development is the complete process of launching a new product to market or improving an existing product to better meet user needs.

Written by Anthony Corbo
Published on Dec. 16, 2021
What Is Product Development?
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Jeff Hurd | Aug 11, 2022

This process consists of every step required to grow a product from an idea to its most viable product, with products often evolving over time to provide additional value to a company's customers. Successful product development relies on implementing the strategies and requirements laid out in the product roadmap.

What are the seven stages of new product development?

  • The seven stages of new product development include idea generation, idea screening, concept testing and development, market strategy/business analysis, product development, market testing and market entry/commercialization.

New product development focuses on new ideas that hold more uncertainty around the development process, however, new products can lead to widespread adoption and an increase in users. To guide developers through this process, seven stages are utilized to bring a product to market, this includes idea generation, idea screening, concept testing and development, market strategy, business analysis, product development, market testing and market entry/commercialization.

Idea generation involves brainstorming sessions to identify unsolved consumer problems. Once several product ideas are formed, they are screened through an internal review process to determine the best option with the highest potential for success. After an idea is chosen, a concept is developed that provides a detailed version of the idea that matches user stories. The concept is then tested for development and market feasibility before a market strategy is drafted. At this point, product development begins and a prototype is subsequently created before becoming a minimum viable product. After the development of the minimum viable product, market testing begins with alpha and beta testing. If testing proves successful, the product is brought to market.

What are the five stages of the product life cycle?

  • The five stages of the product life cycle are development, introduction, growth, maturity and decline.

Product life cycle is used throughout product development to measure a product at different phases in its maturity. Even before a product’s development has been completed and it reaches the market, it has entered the first stage of its life cycle. Eventually, most products are taken off the market and replaced by another product or become phased out over time. The time between the product’s conception to its retirement represents its overall life cycle. 

Product life cycle is similar to the customer’s journey but from the other point of view. It begins with development, in which the product is iterated to meet customer needs and eventually leads to the creation of a minimum viable product. From here, the product is introduced to the targeted audience that matches the personas discovered during product discovery and is launched to this segment of the market, allowing a degree of control over the success of the product. The product then enters its growth phase, where the product’s reach is sustainably scaled and additional marketing avenues are invested in. Products spend a long period of their overall life cycle in the growth phase before eventually entering their maturity phase, the peak of the product life cycle where the product reaches its maximum potential and sales remain stable. Products with a great degree of longevity may spend the most time in maturity. Finally, sales begin to lessen and the product enters its decline phase before eventually being retired.


What are the six stages of software development?

The six stages of software development are planning, design, development, testing, deployment and maintenance.

Software development is among the most nuanced forms of product development, with more specific steps involved for meeting customer needs and deployment. The six stages of the software development life cycle includes requirement gathering and analysis, design, implementation and coding, testing, deployment and maintenance. 

The first step, planning and requirements gathering, is similar to the development of most products, in which a problem is defined, data is gathered, stakeholders become involved, and a proof of concept and roadmap are formed. After this point, design begins, with software architecture, prototype, and user experience designs providing a model of what the software will look like and how it will be utilized. From here, developers build staging environments and code the software’s functional elements. The software iteration is then tested and runs through quality assurance processes by QA analysts, engineers and managers to ensure functionality, resulting in a working prototype. The software is then deployed, either to a minimum viable product or as a fully-fledged product entering the market. The product is then regularly maintained, fixing bugs or deploying updates when needed.

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