The Biggest Roadblocks in Product Development

By Jay Shelvin posted 07-19-2019 08:47 PM


While there’s no blueprint for successful product development, there are some common roadblocks that founders face. They are often guilty of chasing perfection at the cost of execution. Success is never guaranteed but knowing how to avoid certain roadblocks can help when it comes to product development.

Continuously adding features

One of the dangers in product development is to strive for ultimate perfection and continue to add more and more features. You might change the product’s intended use or make it too complex.

It’s often smarter to launch a simpler product that solves a particular problem. Adding excessive features also means additional testing and expense. Knowing the sales myths helps. If your product is not saleable without all the added features, you may have to go back to the drawing board.

It makes more sense to launch with a simple product and learn from its success and use the feedback of early adopters to see how you can improve it. Only expand your offering because you think it’s critical, not just because you think you must.

Setting unrealistic timelines

The development process won’t always go faster or be more successful if you double your resources. Adding additional people to a task means that overheads, development costs and risks increase. It is important to identify priorities, especially when attempting a large project. You need to be realistic and assign milestones.

Choosing the wrong manufacturer

A low-cost production solution may be tempting but you must rather invest in a quality manufacturer who understands the design and specs of your product. Manufacturers do not usually have a great deal of time to understand how your product will be used.

It’s up to you to provide metrics to make sure everyone understands how it is supposed to feel and function. You increase your chances of success by developing functional tests for a manufacturer to perform and by providing clearly stated acceptance criteria.

With formulation development, for example, it will help you to get a company offering product development services to work with you.

It will create your formulation based on your technical specs and you will be able to give input after reviewing a sample batch before its finalized. You can transfer the formulation with confidence to the manufacturer to produce it at scale.

No matter where your products are made, you need to build up a relationship with your manufacturing partners and be focused on quality. Choosing low-cost overseas manufacture makes this very difficult.

Forgetting about post-launch strategy

It is hard to develop a product based only on in-house findings. With internal testing, you can only achieve so much and you may not realize how users will use your product in the real world. You won’t know exactly how it will be adopted and in many cases, a second or third version of a product is necessary before it hits the right spot.

Software is often launched as a work-in-progress, but when you’re making physical products, tweaks are more difficult. It is fine to launch an imperfect product as long as you have a post-launch strategy in place for how to improve it once you’ve gathered feedback from users.

There will always be a gap between what you can achieve in a laboratory to what happens in the real world. Many physical products are improved after being launched in the marketplace.

It’s essential for you to figure out your process to gain feedback on what is working and what isn’t. You can do this during development with user research or post-launch by receiving feedback from your customers.

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