5 Pitfalls of Product Development & How to avoid them?

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Many of us believe that having the best idea is the only key to building successful products.

And, we can’t disagree more.

In a research done by Harvard Business School, 95% of new products that come into the market fail miserably.

The entire process of developing a product and launching it to the market is filled with hurdles. So, you can’t just blame the idea for not making the mark.

Executives like you are worried about making product development mistakes; while you can’t avoid them all, some of them are very common.

This article will talk in detail about the 5 biggest product development mistakes that you can avoid to save countless hours and so much money.

1.   Unclear product development strategy

The process of product development starts way before the actual development. A clear product strategy helps businesses bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to reach with step-wise actionable steps.

In the absence of a defined strategy, development teams feel choked up with tasks and might not be able to prioritize work effectively. If your product development strategy is quite high-level, it might leave your team startled.

Often, businesses start with a plan, define all actionable steps, and establish all the checkpoints only to put them back into the drawer. They fail to follow those steps, and it becomes a mess in the end.

How to avoid it? 

Your product development strategy is your ‘north star’ to launching an excellent product. It should be divided into multiple- time intervals stating the start and end of the task. Businesses can break it down to defining user roles, measuring KPIs, and other things they want to reflect on.

 Following this process would bring more agility and keep the members goal-focused. Project managers should answer why they are doing what they are doing and how it adds value to the plan. This will never leave your team wondering if their efforts are even relevant.

2.   Too few or too many checkpoints

Excess of anything is bad.

Remember the last time you worked with someone who was extremely nosy and wanted an update every two seconds. On the other hand, you must have also dealt with clients that just want the results and don’t establish proper follow-up to ensure that the task is in accordance with their expectations.

Both these situations aren’t healthy for successful product development.

Micromanaging every task would pause your team’s creativity. Also, too many revisions discourage members and won’t add much value.

If you don’t define specific checkpoints, your team might lose strategic direction. They might interpret steps incorrectly and present you with something totally unrelated.

How to avoid it?

Having a balanced approach to this is extremely necessary to keep things in line.

Make sure you review your team’s performance on specified timelines, maybe in a week or two weeks but not more than that. This way, you will be on hold of their progress without making them overwhelmed with revisions and updates.

You can pre-define the deadlines and expectations of the product’s features, quality, and cost estimates.

3.   Adding too many features

Many times businesses confuse innovation with value-addition. They added features because it was easier to integrate and not necessarily because it solved a problem. Using technology with no clear purpose is both a waste of time and money.

Secondly, businesses decide their product features on the recommendation made by the customers. They conduct surveys to understand what they want and wish to deliver it on a platter.

The loophole with this is-

  • Customers aren't sure of their want until they see a prototype first.
  • They don’t know what’s possible.
  • And, whatever they do is already available in the market, so what’s new?

This way, businesses add unnecessary features or are too broad that it blurs the objective of the product.

How to avoid it?

So, instead of stuffing too many features, try making your product simpler but well-equipped. Ask your product manager to deeply understand the market trends and create products to solve real problems.

You can segregate your feature list into ‘nice-to-have’ and ‘essential feature.’ This will help you give a clear picture of the features you would want to add, what you can skip.

4.   Unclear user roles and responsibilities

When you haven’t established any user roles and responsibilities, people are either choked with tasks or don’t have much to do. There is always a commotion between people on what tasks they are assigned and the area they need to care about.

How to avoid it?

Hire a product manager who can give you real-time updates and assign roles to other team members.

At the start of the project-

  • Define roles and assign responsibilities of every team member
  • Narrow down tasks so that people are not feeling overwhelmed
  • Establish a department head that is directly responsible for task delivery and updates.

5.   Assuming yourself as a customer

Product teams often think that they can represent their target audience and define their product features all by themselves. This can adversely affect the product reach or, worse, make it unacceptable. The product might make total sense to its creators but lose connection with its target audience.

How to avoid it?

The best way to avoid this situation is to measure the usability of your product. Do a soft launch where people can test your product and give you a response.

This way, you would get crucial insights into what your ideal customers like and what they don’t. You can address their concern to build a product that’s user-proof.  After all, ultimately, what matters is the opinion of your buyers, not creators.

Final thoughts

These are some of the pitfalls that we have seen in years of experience working with brands across the globe.

But, there would be times that you might feel challenged or stuck in your product development journey, and that’s absolutely normal.

Mobikode’s software development team works seamlessly towards perfection. In this journey towards betterment in product development, our expertise has defined easy wayouts to avoid pitfalls in product development.

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