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STRATEGIC PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT PLANNING

Every product begins with an idea, which is then developed and brought to the market. Whether you’re an established company or a startup, you know that a product market success requires preparation. Without proper planning the product is more likely to fail than succeed. When we say proper we mean thorough consideration of every stage of product development from the product idea to marketing and beyond.

“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.”

Benjamin Franklin

Product Development Strategy, LANPDT, Benjamin Franklin

Determining each step that your product will take in the process creates a strategic roadmap for the implementation of your big vision. Therefore, a sound plan and product development strategy are crucial for successful development, launch and further growth of your product.

In other words, strategic planning implies creating the implementation plan that is driven by the product development strategy. This strategy will determine the way your product is perceived and received by the consumer and the market. So, where does your product development plan start?

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT PLAN

“Always start at the end before you begin.”

Robert Kiyosaki

Product Development Strategy, LANPDT, Robert Kiyosaki

In order to develop an effective product development plan you need to see a bigger picture, i.e. look at the end destination you want your product to get to. It’s like writing a book. The author develops the plot and creates situations according to the story’s finale. Otherwise, the story line would hit a dead-end.  Thus, the author must know the final destination first. And only then look at when and how his characters are going to arrive there.


Begin to organize your plan by asking questions like:

  • – What do I want from my product?
  • – Is it a one time or a long-term enterprise?
  • – Where do I see my product in a few years from now?

Step-by-step, work your way backward  and apply high-level vision to your product’s development. It will help set strategic goals and objectives that you want your product to achieve. That, in turn, will shape your strategy.

 PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY

After you answered the above questions, your next step is to determine how you will move towards realizing your product’s big vision. Product development strategy is a vehicle with GPS navigation system – tools and techniques – that drives your product to the set destination.

In order to find the right tools, you need to ask three big questions. These questions include many additional aspects, which open up a variety of ways and methodologies to achieve your goals. Take one question as a foundation and then narrow it down to specifics.

“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”

Michael LeBoeuf

Product Development Strategy, LANPDT, Michael LeBoeuf

Knowing your target customers and being in constant communication with them is integral to your plan and product development startegy . For the most part, it is what defines the entire product development process and your budget allocations for each phase. Thus, paying close attention to your customers and their needs will ensure their satisfaction and your product success. Let’s review the questions:

1 Who is my target audience?


a) What demographics my product will cover?

– gender, age, social group, preferences, hobbies, etc.

b) What is my primary consumer group?

– early adopters, innovators, opinion leaders or heavy consumers?

c) What research tools do I need to get to know my consumer and receive their feedback?

– focus group surveys?

– qualitative research?

– social media analytics?

– interviews? and so on.

After you’re done with this block, move to the next one.

2 How do I commercialize my product?

a) How do I develop a product idea?

– create a concept design? (just drawings or/and CAD models)

– build a prototype of my invention? (3D printing or/and CNC machining technologies)

– manufacture my product? (small batch or mass production, choice of the manufacturer)

b) How, when, where do I launch my product?

c) How do I go about marketing a new product?

– do I do it myself or team up with a product marketing firm?

– what media channels do I use to promote my product?

– what visual and copy materials do I need?

This set of questions, in combination with the information about your target audience, will determine your product development strategy. Also, it will influence and guide your further product growth.

When you create your initial plan, inevitably, your product development strategy will undergo fine-tuning and adjustment. It will be based on the data gathered from your target audience and the product development process itself. So use it wisely. If the implementation results show that some of the steps weren’t as successful as you intended, adjust them. When applying the information for the betterment of your product that improves your end-users’ experience, the adjustment is pain-free. Therefore, keeping an open mind and being flexible to change is very important.

“Be real and adjust your strategy according to honest results.”

Charles Caleb Colton

Product Development Strategy, LANPDT, Charles Caleb Colton

Same attitude applies to further evolution of your product. Expanding and correcting the existing product development strategy in accordance with a new set of goals and recent consumers’ feedback will provide a fertile ground to further your product development. And this leads us to the third question.

3 How do I further develop and grow my product?

The answer to this query depends on many factors. For example, the current market state of your product, how many products you have, whether your main objective is achieved or has changed, and many more.

Let’s assume that your product development plan has reached its destination and you want to evolve your brand by introducing a newer version of your product. The obvious thing to do is to go back to the questions you used to build your first product development strategy around and apply them. But this time for the new version and based on the experience you gained.

“I believe that people make their own luck by great preparation and good strategy.”

Jack Canfield

Product Development Strategy, LANPDT, Jack Canfield


During your journey of creating your plan and strategy you will find more questions to ask that will be relevant specifically to you. That’s why it’s good to keep a log of everything you do along the way.

For that purpose, the LA NPDT team has created Realizr™. It is a perfect tool for organizing your product development process, logging important information, and developing your ideas. Realizr™ will help you to lay out a well-structured product development plan with strategic steps to its implementation ensuring your product market success.

Realizr, Product Idea Development Tool Photo


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