New product development

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New product development (NPD) can be best explained and broken down in the following way:

CONCEPT – This is the new idea. The disruptive concept. The innovation upon an existing product. Basically put, it’s where the product begins.

RESEARCH – Is a similar product available elsewhere? What is the competitive landscape like? Are IP protections in place to stop the development?

Researching not just the competitive landscape but also the industry as a whole for developments is key to understanding the viability of the product before the (more costly) development stage.

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT – Product development within online portals normally starts with prototyping and wireframes.

Once the prototyping of the product has been completed and the final specification agreed then the product development activity moves into production-mode. For most portal-based businesses this can be anywhere from three months through to one year for MVP.

During this stage, I have always found it wise to start content production. It will enable the business to launch with a more attractive initial proposition and make the most of any initial view, or review of the business by both peers and industry insiders.

TESTING – Once the development nears the end of its cycle the business will want to test various iterations of the product. This will improve usability, resource usage, performance, error checking and sales funnel performance.

Beta testing is one option available to the business as it could offer access for a strictly limited number of people to review and benchmark performance and any issues encountered during this phase. Focus groups both external and internal are also an option here.

Remember, testing is all about learning.

PRODUCT LAUNCH – This is the final stage of new product development… and perhaps the most glamorous part.

The business launches the portal to the general public and starts marketing and implementing commercial strategies.

Creating any new product is difficult and a risk. This is especially the case with subscription-based products making use of a relatively expensive production cost. Product development however is not merely about navigating the stages of new product development. It is also very much about successfully managing a product through its lifecycle.

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