Software development can often be a complex and drawn-out process. Details such as the technology stack your team chooses for development as well as the specific set of features you decide to build out can dramatically change your project’s course. So, too, can the decision to develop your software idea as a product, first and foremost.
Developing a product of any sort requires the utmost attention to detail—miscalibration along any line translates to missed opportunities at market. Product design concerns have to take a front seat when software products are put together. This means your development strategy will need to fuse in form and function with your business goals in order to get the right results. Thankfully, there are ways to ensure you can do this correctly; it’s even possible to create your own software without programming if you partner with the right people.
How software products are built
Taking a new software product from concept to concrete reality involves progressing through a series of stages, starting at ideation and culminating in your finished product’s eventual launch. Most first-time creators wonder how to create software from scratch and where they need to start. Luckily, the process is relatively straightforward. Here are the details of the three top-level phases of software product development:
1. Identifying a need and a market
This stage is arguably the most important to get right. Without identifying real needs to use as a launchpad for solution ideas, you would simply end up creating something that appeals to no one. By centering your product’s existence on a prevailing need, you can define not only its feature set, but also the very people it should be designed to accommodate. To discover the needs that a purpose-built product can serve, you can consult with others in any niche you’re interested in entering into. Naturally, there are many different ways to go about doing so. For instance, simply frequenting discussion forums for a topic or niche can yield useful insights, as can taking a deeper look at existing solutions on the market.
With a need in mind, you can begin brainstorming product possibilities. Addressing needs with potential solutions keeps your conceptual product from veering off course in terms of its included features. You should also try to ensure your solution has a potential market you can offer it to; otherwise, you could find yourself with a great product that no one actually wants to buy. Once you’ve identified a valid need and decided on a strategy for solving it, you can begin fleshing out your solution’s design.
2. Designing and developing your software product
At this stage, your team should be ready to dive into the actual creation of your software product. Designing your product involves determining all of its more specific characteristics. These include details such as:
- The user interface (UI): This is what your product should actually look like upon completion.
- The user experience or flow (UX): This is the intended way your customers can be expected to use your software product when it’s finished.
- The feature set: These are all of the features your team has deemed necessary for your product’s first iteration.
- The pricing strategy: This is the monetization method you’ve chosen for your product, such as a flat fee or a subscription model.
- The target devices: These are the devices you expect users to run your software product on.
- The tech stack: This is the collection of technologies you anticipate using to create your new product.
With design concerns accounted for, you can move on to the development portion of the process. At this point, your team springs into action and begins cobbling together the code needed to make your design a reality. Depending on the team’s preferences and the project itself, any number of development methodologies may be chosen, such as:
- Waterfall development: This is considered a more traditional approach in which each part of your product is designed in order until it is completed. This method is much less flexible than agile, but it’s easy to track progress and can deliver faster results in the right circumstances.
- Agile development: This method leverages extreme flexibility to deliver consistently customizable results. Agile development offers concurrent testing processes to ensure new code contributions are safe at every milestone and features can be delivered as needed instead of all at once.
Project scope can dramatically affect this part of the process, as products with more features are practically guaranteed to take longer to develop than those with less overall. However, once finished, you should have a functional software product that’s ready to enter the final stage of the development process: the launch.
3. Achieving product-market fit
When the time comes to launch your product, the last thing you want to discover is that it isn’t quite as appealing to your target audience as you’d hoped it would be. This is where product-market fit comes into play. Ideally, this “phase” of your software product development process is more of a fixture from start to finish than a one-off task to take on at the end. However, regardless of how you approach it, product-market fit is essential to your product’s success. This is the artful portion of the process in which your product’s unique characteristics are tweaked to align with the interests of the people you intend to serve. More specifically, product-market fit refers to achieving a sustainable amount of lead onboarding and retention with your product.
Here are a few common tactics to improve product-market fit:
- Soft-launching a product: This means performing a smaller launch with only the most interested customers first and learning from their interactions with your product.
- Leveraging data and research: Marketing research that members of your team have available can make a big difference for product developers looking for a way to improve functionality.
The right partner can be your guide
VeryCreatives provides expert guidance to teams big and small to help them transform their digital product ideas into successful creations. Our team has the knowledge and experience to help you choose the best path forward for your project while delivering development results you can count on.
Book a call with us today to learn how we can help your software product idea succeed.