Striving to achieve remarkable product speed without compromising the quality of the product is often a challenge most companies face.

Hence, companies are always on the lookout to accelerate their product development, because only speed and quality can get them ahead of their competitors.

Did you know that Amazon has a software change every 11 seconds, about 8000 changes every day? So you can just about guess what this would do to their competitors who do not make changes so often.

It is also important to note that making changes to the product every now and then is not expensive or time consuming at all. In fact, continuous deployment can be cheaper, with lower risk because it is all automated and when done in small development teams, would bring in better coordination.

As the projects become larger, the code bases also become complex and testing new software releases becomes a must. Quality assurance professionals run elaborate test procedures, but traditional testing procedures can always take up time and still miss the errors. So, they opt for automated testing options.

Through expertise and long term commitment, companies are able to create strategies by which they can market their products faster, minus the errors, but with no compromise in quality.

Through fast product development, companies could take less time to launch their product on the market, i.e; less Time To Market or TTM. The faster they get a perfect product into the market, the better it is for them, in terms of sales and leadership position and flexibility.

Companies look forward to improved requirements management (gathering the requirements for something that is yet to be designed) because it lets them market their products faster, and with improved quality. This is because getting the requirements in a clearly articulated format would help ease the design and development stage.

No system would be perfect, but adopting the TTM strategy along with "improved required management" would help companies deploy high quality products on the planned launch date.

How can you Speed up Product Development?

The success of a company depends on how well it keeps its word – to the shareholders and to the customers. This is why launching a product on time is one of the most important challenges for them.

Over the course of product development, a number of obstacles may crop up; some of them expected, but a good number of them, unexpected. These hurdles can really slow down development.

Given below are 6 best steps, which when correctly followed, will help you speed up product development without compromising quality.

1. A Well-Defined Product Development Strategy

Having a product development strategy is the first crucial step in planning a product. The strategy can be defined only when you know the purpose of having the application around.

For example, if you are going to have an app released by Christmas, it has to be out by Christmas; it cannot be released in January. Or may be you are going to release an app that allows seamless switching of trains between stations. In that case, you have to be really very careful with the coding because you cannot afford to have the trains crash because of a software failure. In a situation like this, cleaning up the codes and making them free of bugs is so important, rather than timing.

Before kickstarting product development, create a well-planned roadmap that will detail all the necessary steps – right from product iteration to product launch.

There are three main tactics that can be applied for the product development strategy. Here is a deeper review of the tactics:

A. Identifying the Market

Before releasing any product in the market, it is very important to do a research on whether it will be accepted among your users or not. You can do surveys, hunt the community forums and social media channels to know the pulse of the audience.

Here are certain things to consider while on a quest to understand your people:

- What are the needs of your target audience?

Get to know the real people who would be using your product, so you understand their needs well and create apps accordingly.

- What are the benefits of the new product?

It would be a great idea if the product can solve a problem a user is currently facing. For example, some of your users would like to know from where your ingredients are sourced and its health benefits in your restaurant app. You can create an app just so the users can collect all the information they want.

- Will the product fit into the current market?

A deep research will tell you whether the product you are planning has become obsolete or will it still have a market once it has been released. This way you can save energy and time and concentrate on what people really want.

- What are the features that you intend to incorporate into your product?

A research would tell you the likes and interests of people, so you can incorporate only those features that people will use, so when the final product is out, you have a light-weight, feature rich product on the roll.

B. Fixing a Time Frame

Deciding on a timeframe for the release of the product is so important. This would help in allocating the project to different team members, and deciding on the different iterations on which it has to be completed. Choosing the right team for the project is so important here. Because, your release on time would depend on the experience and skill of the people in your team.

Team efficiency and coordination is so important for a successful development process, so your product is released on time before competition sets in. Depending on the features of the product, user needs and the skill of the people involved in the project, you must decide the correct launch date.

C. Determining the Key Approaches

It is important to have certain key approaches to do away with the challenges that come across with product planning and launch. Mentioned below are some of the main ones:

1. Wireframes or prototypes

Prototyping is one of the important steps to be taken while designing a product. Before actually creating a product design, it is imperative to create low fidelity wireframes that act as rough blueprints of the application. This will give the UX designers an in-depth idea about the designs, features and functionalities that should be included in the app’s UI. All the elements that make the app user friendly would be added here. These wireframes act as the link between a theoretical idea of the app and its final outcome.

2. Product Specification requirements

All the details about the app has to be detailed in the product specification. This includes pricing, design features and functionalities, marketing specifications, etc.

The documentation part of the product must be detailed clearly because different teams will be handling it, and each person in the team has to comprehend it. Any unclear part in the product specification would delay the product launch because of unnecessary resets or other inadvertent defects.

3. Define Testing strategy

The product development team must go through the testing strategies that is both time saving and effective. They have to choose a Test Automation Suite consisting of frameworks like Selenium, Appium, Loadrunner, jMeter, etc. which helps in conducting parallel tests including Regression testing and Performance testing.

4. Hire a Development Team

Choosing the development team for your product is the next important stage in product development. In order to launch a high quality product in the market on time, you need to outsource product development to a dedicated engineering team that has the right mix of skill and expertise.

Sometimes, hiring skilled developers for the in-house team can be highly expensive for the company in the long run. Outsourcing software development is a smart strategy in such cases. The right people on your team can reduce the TTM, helps you come up with innovative products and control costs effectively.

2. Using Agile Methodology

The project management team peruses on the development methodology and chooses the one that’s best suited for their project. Agile methodology, based on the 12 fundamental principles of the Agile Manifesto is the most popular one of all. It breaks down the project into several iterations of equal duration, spread across a time-period of 2-8 weeks.  

What the stakeholders and clients like most about the Agile method is that it lets them see into each and every development stage of the product, so they can make decisions throughout the project. If “time to market” is of greater concern, then Agile lets you quickly produce a basic version of the software product, tested after several successful iterations.

Through Agile Methodology, it is possible to create an MVP or Minimum Viable Product with all the user-friendly features and release it in market. For each stage of the product, more features can be tested, added and then again tested after getting feedback from customers.

This works mainly because cross-functional teams can get to work with each other on a consistent basis, right from the designing stage to the developing stage, and most importantly the testing stage.

Each team (designer-developer-team) will work in parallel with each other, checking for the quality of the work as they go along. Agile, actually, saves times compared to the Waterfall method, because in this approach, the tasks cannot be overlapped, and each task can be started only after completing the previous task.

3. Periodic Automated Testing

It is imperative for software tests to be conducted at regular intervals for development cycles to go smoothly as planned. Each time a new source code is added or modified, testing has to be done so that the product works well on all the supporting platforms. Both automated testing and manual testing procedures are adopted. However, the problem with manual testing is that it takes up a lot of time, human effort and money.

On the other hand, a Test Automation suite can considerably lower the testing time. What was done in days and weeks, can be done in a few hours now. And time is not the only factor. Automated testing lets you go deeper into the tests to improve and increase software quality. Manual testing doesn’t allow this advantage during lengthy tests because somebody has to constantly watch the tests results.

Test Automation suites gives you a better insight into each product, analyze the codes memory contents, data tables, the contents of the file and internal programs to check whether the product is performing as expected.  

This lets you improve the accuracy of the software and of course, this depends on the type of automated software testing you are planning to do - Unit testing, Functional testing, Regression Testing, Integration Testing, Data Driven Testing and Smoke Testing are a few of them.

Whenever a new functionality is added, executing regression testing is one way to check the code and how well it functions. The tests can be repeated several times and as they are automated; there is no time loss. It is faster, gets really in-depth into the code functionality and you can finally release a perfect product.

Parallel testing is another major benefit of test automation suites. It lets you run multiple test cases on several operating systems and browsers at the same time. This approach eventually reduces testing time; whereas testing in a sequential manner on a single machine eats away your time.

4. Right Software Development Technologies

There are plenty of software development technologies in the market. They come with their own stories, positives and negatives. If you don’t choose the right  technology stack for the product that you want to build, then you will simply run into roadblocks that will in turn delay the product launch.

In a test software framework, Application Development Environment (ADE) plays a crucial role in the test systems. System developers spend plenty of time with their ADE, so it is imperative to choose an ADE with multiple platforms and integrate it with measurement and control services. An ADE should also help with the presentation and reporting features of your app, provide training and support worldwide.

  • Keeping those aspects in mind, let us look at some other points to consider while making technology choices for your product development.
  • Keep tabs on the latest industry trends.
  • Is the technology suitable for the new product development?
  • Find out about the technology adoption lifecycle.
  • Is the software development technology open source?
  • Know the long haul expenses of your technology choice.
  • Can the product be ported to other platforms?
  • How important are execution and versatility?
  • Would you be able to profit by 3rd party code?

5. Documentation

Documentation  describes the architecture and functionality of a product that is under development. It is intended for everyone involved in a software development project - designers, developers, testers, marketers, end users, stakeholders, etc.

Documentation helps to improve the quality of a software. And this becomes very effective as software teams usually come with their own informal best practices in coding documentation and code review process. Once you start formalizing these practices, a formal documentation takes place. and this helps in tracking the forward progress of the project.

When written in a clear and concise manner, documentation can speed up development process. It helps the developers reach a consensus on how to implement a particular functionality in the product.

Proper documentation makes it easier for new developers as well, and this would be both time and cost-effective for the companies as well, as they can skip the training part, and plunge right into the product development. Properly documented error codes and FAQs guides developers to troubleshoot production issues as well.

Documentation can be mainly:

1. Design Documentation

The design documentation helps developers by providing the details on how the end product will look. There will be a narrative and graphical documentation on how the software should look like, feel like, behave and so on. This gives an understanding to everyone in the team on how a product is to be built, helps users understand quickly and actually simplify the product.

2. Technical Documentation

The correct technical documentation is quite important to the success of any product. It describes the architecture and functionality of the software in its intricate detailing, and is used by developers, designers, quality analysts.

This is very, very important for large projects because it keeps everything from falling apart. It contains the exact outcomes of the different functional parts of the software, API calls and responses, the final look of the project in the hands of the end user and elaborate discussions on the various sections of the code.

3. User Documentation

Good documentation helps users understand how a code works. Developers generally assume that people who use the software know how the codes work. And they create documentations by skipping the essentials. As long as the user understands the language, it would be fine, but if not, then it would be of little use to them.

So when creating documentation for general users, just make sure it is clear cut and easily understandable. And the documentation should be in a good layout so the developers can easily scan through what they need. The documentation for Wordpress and Bootstrap are good examples of this.

4. Marketing Documentation

Marketing documentation contains the basic overviews of what the software should give back to the company - the ROI. Documentation acts as a good marketing tool to help maintain a good process and helps in scaling better heights in software quality.

6. Removing Unused Code

It is so very important to remove unused codes because they can lead to a number of issues. In large projects, (especially in the complex ones) the documentation could get into the hands of many people; even developers who are new to the project. They might make changes to the code, even to the dormant ones, and inadvertently introduce bugs.

Maintaining any code is a burden, because you really have to go through each of them and if unused codes are there in the codebase, they can only create more confusions. Chances are highly unlikely that unused codes will ever be used again, so even if you have taken the time and effort to create codes, just remove them if they serve no purpose.

Team members working on the codes must know which are the used and the unused ones. Code cleanup can speed up development process, and improve the quality of software.

Conclusion

Companies must concentrate on reducing time to market their products. To eliminate the risks associated with product delays, it is imperative to focus on parallel testing, Agile methodology, proper documentation and the right technologies. If the development team has sufficient resources, the project will take off successfully.

Also, it’s important to rely on TTM tactics to gain marketing advantage and to acquire a competitive position, because in certain situations, it could be a matter of pure survival. Last, but not the least, besides focusing on speed, make sure you uphold the quality of the product in development.

Want to accelerate product development and launch your product on time in the market? Come to us; we can guide you… 

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