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Product Life Cycle: Step by Step

If you ever had a business idea you probably wondered which steps you should follow in order to discover if it’s actually a product, let’s go over them together.

Product Managers, what are they good for?

If you want to build a product, a feature or anything, you need to get the story straight and that’s where a Product Manager comes in. Their main goal is to look after the product and make sure that what’s being built is aligned with the company’s business goals and considering from the beginning how the user will interact with what we’re building.

Overall, they need to make sure that there is a clear roadmap that makes sense to everyone. This means that they must work with the entire team to find the spot that connects the user demands, the vision of the creator and the experience of the team which will ultimately align everyones expectations and discover the real path to the product construction.

To achieve success, there must be a validated idea that will increase your chances of building an MVP that won’t be rejected by the market.

At Lateral View, we’ve been helping companies to innovate through design and technology for 10 years now. This has allowed us to define a series of steps that every product needs to go through to become real and successful. Also, since we were born Agile, we’re constantly discovering new ways of improving the way we work.

Product Lifecycle Steps

The following is, what we consider, a great summary of the stages every product goes through.

#1 Conceive

We work on the unique value proposition of the product. At this point the participation of the founders or decision makers of our client’s company is mandatory because the goal is to identify the real pain points we’re going to solve.

There will always be competitors, that’s not our ruin. The reason this product sounds like a good idea is because we think we can do better. So in order to have a clear goal and ensure the whole team is aligned you must run a Design Sprint involving all interested parties and decision makers.

This stage is crucial, it will let us understand the goal, validate it with real users and have a clear idea of how we can build the first version of our product. You can’t build anything if all you have is guesswork. You need real data.

The results of this stage is a prioritized backlog, a tested prototype, and a validated idea. More than enough to start planning the product’s roadmap.

#2 Plan

Based on the results of the Design Sprint, and considering the feedback that we got in the previous step, we have the main value proposition identified for our product.

At this point, we do a market research of the features that we want to build. In addition, we look at our competitors and what’s out there. This is a great way to identify existing pain points of our competitors and think of ways of having a new and innovative value proposition that will attract our target.

In this step the whole team is involved, from designers and developers to stakeholders. The reason to do so is because we don’t want surprises down the line, this will become a blocker otherwise and we have no time or money to waste.

#3 Development

The whole team works on what they’ve defined in the previous two steps together with the Product Manager and the stakeholders. Our focus is to build the product in the most efficient way without losing quality. The Product Manager will need to lay out the “blueprints” of the product, discuss ideas with the team and identify valuable stories that will bring our product to life.

At Lateral View we have a Lean focus, which means all our efforts will be placed to get the maximum value out of each iteration, trying to build a new version of our product as we work on new stories. This allows us to have feedback that can be used to have better versions of our product in next releases.

#4 Iterate

Each release of the app, even when it’s still being developed, is an opportunity to validate our ideas and to learn from users.

During this phase, you can send each build to a set of early adopters that can provide meaningful insights on what you are building. Use that information to make decisions. Feedback can help you see things differently and be able to decide if you need to take an action on potential problems sooner than later.

Our focus allows us to have constant releases that helps us constantly validate the product and pivot if necessary.

#5 What’s left?

Well basically the moment of truth, LAUNCH!

There are two possible scenarios in which you may consider a product finished:

  1. The product is killed.
  2. You don’t work on the product anymore (which means the product may still be alive).

So, considering the above, once the team has finished working on the MVP we need to pay attention to our metrics and test what we thought was a valid assumption in early stages of the life cycle.

At Lateral View, we do user testing to validate the ideas or to learn from the users and decide if we want to pivot or not. Doing this in early stages of the product let us plan features with a budget in mind, knowing that each step we take leaves us closer to your goal.

The best way to remain inflight is to understand properly the current situation and act accordingly.

Summing Up

There is no way of assuring the success of any venture, however there are proven ways of getting as closer as you can to the desired results, and that’s what we do with each project that we work on.

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