An Invincible Approach to Product Development

As development and thought partners, Leapfrog collaborates with startups and SMEs to develop defensible products. In the past eight years, we have worked with over 100 clients, which has helped us garner expertise in the field of product development. While we were experimenting with many frameworks, we realized the core of building a defensible product lies in understanding the product development cycle.

With this blog, we breakdown the stages of product development while resolving questions in the product management world. We believe that our experience with product development can aid companies small or large, aiming to build their digital products. The steps below are the roadmap that leads to building a defensible product:

Step 0: Defining the role of product managers

We begin with the fundamentals- defining the role of product managers. Having a product manager adds value to a company. However, it is essential to remember that a good product manager needs to have the right skills to succeed. 

Along with the various technical and non-technical skills, a product manager needs to be capable enough to understand the pain points of the users and advocate to build a customer-centric product. They should suggest clients take a customer-centric approach to build a product.

Step 1: Running a successful first client meeting

The first meeting is crucial. It is an opportunity to build relationships and earn the trust of the clients for development partners. Therefore, development partners should be prepared for introductory meetings and spend optimal time in understanding their clients.

By merely carrying out frictionless first meetings, you are building relationships with your clients and earning their trust and confidence. The introductory meetings let you understand the people you are working with. These meetings are an opportunity for product owners to realize whether they made the right decision by choosing to work with you.

Step 2: Understand customer lifecycle

The next stage in the product life cycle is to understand your customer’s needs and align their needs with the product. This stage is all about interacting with target users, understanding what triggers people to seek out solutions, the action they take, and the rewards they seek.

We strongly suggest investing time in analyzing your customer needs. They are the ones who will be using the product, and without a customer-centric approach, the product is likely to fail

Step 3: What makes a viable product?

A considerable amount of time is spent on assessing our users, what they do, and what they think- and then convincing our clients the importance of this knowledge. With all the information in hand, we move towards building a viable product that aligns with the user needs. 

Start with user interactions to identify the pain points and then work on wireframes before jumping into building the product. Iterate till your assumptions about the product are validated.

Step 4: Mechanics of building a product

Once we have established our viable product, we need to know how we get our users onboard. Do we have a solid single user utility? Will this transition down the road into a multiple user utility? What is our hook to convince users to onboard? We find answers to all these questions in this stage. 

The product owners with product managers closely collaborate with the design and development team at this stage. They explore ways to make the user journey as frictionless as possible and provide instant gratification

Step 5: Product-market fit

Co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, Marc Andreessen, coined the term “Product Market Fit” in 2007. He defined it as “being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.” The journey of product-market fit begins with your customers. By validating your assumptions about the product with the expectation of your user, you will be able to achieve the product-market fit. Regardless of the type of product, you are building, product-market fit drives the success of your product

Step 6: Product Growth

Once we establish our product-market fit, we inch towards product growth. Growing our market depends on a few variables, including user engagement, word of mouth, and creative marketing. Several tactics can help your product grow among which a few include developing features to promote word of mouth, building sales and marketing teams, etc.

Step 7: Network effect

Once your product has an established product-market fit, we delve deeper into different types of network effects and which ones work for different kinds of markets. We analyze what network effect is, and types of network effect businesses can benefit from.

The product development lifecycle should be all about building a product that meets your user’s requirements. By following the stages above, every product owner is one step ahead of building a defensible product.

To unpack more questions related to product development dive into our Product Podcast.

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