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Steps in Software Product Development Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

Software Product Development Stages

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


Developing a new product needs is a structured road-map that gives your business a clear path to follow. The road-map to developing a tangible product or service includes the complete journey from generating the initial idea to bringing the product to market. By setting out the steps involved, product develo­pment will become a more focused and flexible approach that can be adapted for all different types of products and services.

1. Idea Generation

The develo­pment of a product will start with the concept. Ideas come from many different direct­ions. The best to start with a SWOT analysis, (Stren­gths, Weakne­sses, Opport­unities and Threats), which incorp­orates current market trends. The analyze is used to position and find a direction in line with the business strategy.

In addition to this busine­ss-­centred activity, are methods that focus on the customer’s needs and wants. This could be:
Under-taking market research
Listening to sugges­tions from your target audience – including feedback on your current products’ strengths and weakne­sses.
Encouraging sugges­tions from employees and partners
Looking at your compet­itor’s successes and failures

2. Idea Screening

Ensures that unsuitable ideas are rejected as soon as possible. Ideas need to be considered object­ively, ideally by a group or committee.

Specific screening criteria need to be set for this stage, looking at ROI, afford­ability and market potential. These questions need to be considered carefully, to avoid product failure after consid­erable investment down the line.

3. Concept Develo­pment & Testing

You have an idea and it’s passed the screening stage. However, internal opinion isn’t the most important. You need to ask the people that matter – your customers.

Using a small group of your true customer base – those that convert – the idea need to be tested to see their reaction. The idea should now be a concept, with enough in-depth inform­ation that the consumer can visualise it.

Do they understand the concept?
Do they want or need it?

Here is the opport­unity to develop the concept further, consid­ering their feedback.

4. Business Analysis

Once the concept has been tested and finalized, a business case needs to be put together to assess whether the new produc­t/s­ervice will be profit­able. This should include a detailed marketing strategy, highli­ghting the target market, product positi­oning and the marketing mix that will be used.

This analysis needs to include: whether there is a demand for the product, a full appraisal of the costs, compet­ition and identi­fic­ation of a break-even point.

5. Product Develo­pment

If the new product is approved, it will be passed to the technical and marketing develo­pment stage. This is when a prototype or a limited production model will be created. This means you can invest­igate exact design & specif­ica­tions and any manufa­cturing methods, but also gives something tangible for consumer testing, for feedback on specifics like look, feel and packaging for example.

6. Test Marketing

Test marketing (or market testing) is different to concept or consumer testing, in that it introduces the prototype product following the proposed marketing plan as whole rather than individual elements.

This process is required to validate the whole concept and is used for further refinement of all elements, from product to marketing message.

7. Commer­cia­liz­ation

When the concept has been developed and tested, final decisions need to be made to move the product to its launch into the market. Pricing and marketing plans need to be finalized and the sales teams and distri­bution briefed, so that the product and company is ready for the final stage.

8. Launch

A detailed launch plan is needed for this stage to run smoothly and to have maximum impact. It should include decisions surrou­nding when and where to launch to target your primary consumer group. Finally in order to learn from any mistakes made, a review of the market perfor­mance is needed to access the success of the project.