Establishing a new product in today’s economic climate is a challenging task, to say the least. Many businesses are on the back foot, as a result of considerable falls in consumer expenditure – itself a result of rising costs across the board.
But even in times of relative strife, economically speaking, there are some industries that remain resilient. Tech is one such industry, as new technological achievements keep even the smallest of start-ups competitive. In order to make the most of this truth, it is crucial to understand the steps inherent to establishing the presence of a software product. If you are intending to invest in new software, what do you need to know about the process?
Products do not emerge from tech companies fully formed. Software development is a long and iterative process, that begins with the concept stage. This is a real bare-bones stage, in which the idea for a software product is teased out through a number of key questions – which can be as simple as “what should our product do?”
The concept for the product may be born of a new technological capability, and a wish to race to market with this capability. Alternatively, it may be an attempt to plug a lucrative gap in the market, or to meet a specific need. Either way, it is vital to understand the scope of the project early, and define clear goals for what success looks like in that regard. Nailing down a central concept keeps the project focused, and gives form to the product early.
In this early stage, it is especially important to keep abreast of legal aspects and concerns. Expert counsel is advised to oversee the various legal requirements a given software product might demand, particularly where user data is collected and recorded as part of the product’s function. Licensing is also a key part of this equation, where software products typically involve the usage and incorporation of third-party tools as part of their infrastructure.
Design and Development
Speaking of which, with your concept finalised, the next step in the process is to design and develop the product itself. As indicated earlier, this is an iterative process – one which requires multiple ‘passes’ and adjustments to both design and expectations in order to effectively reach a finished product.
There are multiple angles to consider here, too. Not only do back-end processes need to be designed and tested, but front-end user experience (UX) needs to be optimised. A key part of this process is user testing, or quality assurance (QA) – a process best known in the videogame industry where new titles are exhaustively tested for bugs and experience feedback.
As the product approaches completion, launch dates beckon. However, the testing process is never truly complete, and even in launch larger pools of testers can be engaged to make final touches to the product. It is not unusual for developers to launch a beta version of their product, either for free or at a reduced price to interested parties, in order to gather valuable user feedback and implement changes ahead of the launch proper.