There are many reasons for a product to fail. Some products are ahead of their time and others don’t have the right marketing strategy behind them. But at the heart of almost every failed product development is one thing: A lack of planning means that the final product doesn’t meet the needs and desires of its users or customers.
Here are some common mistakes that can lead to this situation:
Limited Conceptual Planning
Conceptual planning is the process of figuring out what you want your product to do, how it will work and who it’s for. It’s a crucial step in product development because it helps you figure out whether your idea has legs and can be made into a successful product.
Insufficient Clarity, at the outset
When you’re developing a new product or service, it’s important to be clear about the purpose of your product. The clearer you are with yourself and others, the more likely it is that you’ll achieve success.
You also need to consider how your product will be designed and what its business model will look like – and then make sure that all three things align with each other for them all to work well together. This can be difficult if there are multiple people involved in making decisions about these things! Keep at it until everyone has the same perspective.
Vague definitions of purpose and meaning
The purpose of a product is to solve a problem. A product is not a solution, it is a solution to a problem. This means that all your efforts need to be directed towards identifying those problems and solving them in the most effective way possible. For this process to be successful and efficient, you need clarity around what your customers challenge is, what customer needs from this product to address their challenge and how it will help them get there.
With too much focus on features rather than benefits (i.e., what does my user want?), developers often lose sight of their target audience as well as their own vision for how things should work for their idea or concept come alive within their digital experience(s).
Differing Perspectives of the Value Proposition
The first step in creating a successful product is defining its value proposition. What problem are you trying to solve? How will you solve it? Who will benefit from your solution, and why are they uniquely positioned to do so?
To answer these questions, you need to understand who your customer is and how they interact with their problems daily. Then, define how your product addresses their needs by solving those specific problems in an innovative way (and not just another “me too” offering). This is where many entrepreneurs fall short: They don’t take the necessary time for research or fail at clearly articulating what makes their offering unique compared with competitors’ offerings.
Quite often, when we check back on the process, we discover that different people on the team, have different views. It’s a scary thought because its ultimately a team that is pulling in different directions.
Important concepts that have not been validated.
Validating your ideas is the process of testing and refining them. It can be done in a variety of ways, but user interviews, surveys and experiments are often used to validate concepts. Validating your product idea is an ongoing process that should be done throughout the development process.
A Product-market-fit belief, that was not confirmed.
The first step in product development is to find out what the market wants. It’s important to know if your product fits into the market, and whether it’s valuable for consumers. You should also consider if your product is usable and feasible from a technical perspective.
If you have an idea for a new technology-based product but don’t know which types of features are most important for users, start by doing some research on existing products that solve similar problems–and figure out why those products succeed where others fail (or vice versa). Once you understand what makes something successful or unsuccessful, think about how yours compares with competitors’ offerings based on these criteria:
- Value: What value does my offering provide? How does this differ from similar offerings? Would someone pay money for it? Will they use it often enough that they’ll get their money back within a reasonable period?
- Functionality: Can people easily understand how this works without having any prior knowledge about its operation or purpose – or do they need instructions first before becoming acquainted with its functionality (e.g., operating system)? If so, then how much time will each new user spend learning those basics before being able to fully utilize everything available within our system.
Not incorporating user feedback.
Another crucial factor to consider is user feedback. If you aren’t incorporating user feedback into your product development process, then you may be missing some valuable insight that could help improve the final product.
Getting feedback from users should be one of your top priorities during this stage of development. You can do this in several ways:
- Surveys – A survey allows you to collect data about how people feel about certain aspects of your product or service (e.g., ease-of-use). It also gives them an opportunity to give suggestions for improving things in future versions or updates. This is helpful because it gives them ownership over the process and helps make them feel invested in it as well!
- User interviews – These are another wonderful way of getting valuable information by talking directly with end users who use comparable products/services on a regular basis, so they know exactly what they need out there now too!
Incomplete or absence of business modelling.
As you’re developing your product, it’s important to consider the business model. A business model is a set of assumptions that explain how a company creates value for its customers and captures that value to make money. These assumptions include things like what you sell, who your customers are and how much they pay for your product or service.
If you don’t have a clear understanding of these assumptions–or if they’re not clearly stated–you could run into trouble later when it comes time to launch your product. To ensure that this doesn’t happen:
- Use the Business Model Canvas tool (or another similar tool) as part of every project kick-off meeting.
- Make sure everyone involved understands what their role is in creating value for customers.
No hypothesis testing.
- Hypothesis testing is a statistical technique used to determine the probability that a given hypothesis is true.
- Hypothesis testing is a way to test the validity of a hypothesis. Its how you stop yourself from believing your own BS or “drinking your own cool-aid”
- It’s also used to determine whether a sample data set supports the conclusion that the null hypothesis is true.
- Importantly, each of your assumptions included in the business model, should be independently and rigorously tested (and documented).
Thinking that it’s about the machine.
Design thinking is a process of innovation that incorporates the human factor. It’s about creating, learning, and communicating. Designers use the process to solve problems by understanding the needs of their users, then creating innovative solutions that are fit for purpose.
Design thinking is often referred to as “designerly” thinking because it helps you think like a designer – a creative problem solver who sees things differently from most people (and uses this insight to make positive changes). If you’re going through product development with this mindset, then you’ll be able to anticipate potential issues before they occur, avoid costly mistakes, and streamline your process so that everything goes smoothly once it’s time for launch!
No technology roadmap
What happens when stage one succeeds? The technology roadmap is a document that outlines the development of your product, including the features and enhancements you want to add. It should be flexible enough to change as your business grows and changes over time.
The technology roadmap should also allow for changes in market conditions or user needs, so it’s important to keep an eye on both internal and external factors when creating one. For example: If a competitor introduces a new feature, then maybe yours will need an update too!
So, how can I avoid these costly mistakes?
There are many ways to not lose your investment in developing a tech product, but the most simple and effective one is to spend more time and investment in planning.
Far too often, we see teams rush into an inspired build mode, as if they already knew all answers and didn’t need a plan, just the belief, energy, and enthusiasm. Most run out of money, time, and energy in that sequence. Only the extremely lucky make it though to the end, without a good plan.
We believe that a good process precedes a good outcome, so pick the right process and build the right team to drive your idea through the process, to the end.
Check that your process takes care of some of the costly mistakes listed above. They’re hard-earned and costly lessons. Knowing about and avoiding them can save you a lot of time, money, and frustration.