In a world where 66% (5.3 billion people) of the population is on the internet, digital product development is a must for companies to thrive. There are also thousands if not millions of companies catering to businesses and consumer demands for digital. For any company that wants to stay ahead of the competitive curve, it is critical to leverage digital product development.
Let’s take a closer look at the core principles of digital development, required planning, and other such details that will help a company thrive in this digitally driven world.
5 Core Principles of Effective Digital Development
It should not be a surprise when companies want to benefit from the ‘first movers’ advantage. And, why not? With tough competition out there, it is pertinent to have this approach for a successful business strategy. However, just being first there may not help if the core principles of digital development are sidelined. Here are some of them that you have to keep in mind:
User Centric: Build for the user and with the user. Successful digital development depends a lot on getting to know the users, their needs, perspectives, and unique set of challenges. Building with the user also means to co-create by identifying their unique set of problems and then solving them.
Existing Market Research: A company needs to carry out a fair amount of market research about the existing ecosystem to understand the user, community, region, and country of the target market. Dedicating time and resources to this research will help create sustainable and relevant digital products.
Scalability: A lot of great ideas and digital products fail over a period of time because they do not consider scalability. Designing for scale also means thinking beyond the pilot launch and choosing wisely to ensure there’s widespread adoption later on.
Agile Methodology: In an agile digital product development approach there is flexibility, adaptability, and quick iterations. In this approach, we break down product development into smaller sprint cycles and continuously test the product, simultaneously implementing feedback.
Cross-functional Collaboration: An effective digital product development requires that all teams and stakeholders collaborate from inception to production. Cross-functional teams break into a wide range of expertise and unique perspectives. This cultivates a culture of innovation and aligns all team members with a unified goal and vision.
Strategic Planning in Product Creation
In this stage, we create the strategic vision of the product and communicate achievable objectives to all teams and stakeholders involved, ensuring everyone is on the same page. You can liken strategic planning of a digital product to looking at a map. You look at the final destination and then plan the best route to reach there.
Questions for consideration
- What is the purpose of creating this product?
- What are the challenges that this product will solve?
- What are the product’s competitive advantages?
- What are the desired outcomes and benefits for the business?
For example, Amazon developed Alexa with a strategic vision to integrate it into smart home systems, addressing the growing trend of IoT and voice-activated devices.
Incorporating User-Centered Design in Development
Why build a user-centric product when our idea is the best in the market? Well, that’s because your users change over a period of time. With the latest trend changing by the second, it is tough to cater to everyone’s preferences. Users will only use products that they feel add value to their work, life, status, etc. So a user-centric design needs to be incorporated from the development stage itself.
The developer teams need to incorporate all the shared learnings from other teams carrying out the user research. There are several approaches that a company may take to do the research – observation, surveys, market research, etc. However, the main goal for developers is to understand the data and solve the user problems.
A user-centric approach is ideally integrated from the development stage itself because later on in the development cycle it may be resource and time-intensive to take a new direction. An experienced development team that understands the specifics of what is digital product development can be of great help in this regard.
In an agile approach, the company breaks the development cycle into small sprints to ensure that every small feedback/direction is quickly adopted into the product. However, an agile mindset can introduce a number of new roles and responsibilities within the teams. It changes the way teams have always worked together. In this methodology, the scrum master, product owner, stakeholders, and development teams collaborate together.
A company needs to carefully weigh if agile methodology has not been integrated into the development cycle. If that’s the case, it would be best to go to experts with the necessary experience and exposure to the agile methodology in product development.
Role of Continuous Testing and QA in Product Development
Continuous testing and quality assurance (QA) are critical components in the digital product development lifecycle. Continuous testing and QA are best because they ensure that the product is not just developed and launched. Rather, the end user gets a bug-free and seamless experience. This ensures that the issues are identified and fixed in an early stage of the development process.
Why the need?
Users have shorter attention spans, so the quality and performance of the digital product are critical for success. Continuous testing and QA help in meeting these expectations by implementing testing in every stage of the development. This approach is important in an agile approach which has quick iterations and frequent changes to the software. The approach empowers teams to promptly find and fix issues, thereby reducing the overall time and cost associated with a product’s post-release.
What are the tool options?
There are several tools and technologies available out there to help a company adopt this approach. Some of the most common tools for automated continuous tests are Jenkins, Jira, and Selenium. These tools manage the CI/CD pipelines and track the issues effectively. Continuous testing and QA maintain a seamless workflow, automatically testing and deploying code changes in production.
Scaling and Optimizing
Scaling and optimizing digital products is an ongoing process that a company needs to do. Any business planning to scale and optimize needs to ensure that they have a systematic approach to digital product development. With growth and scalability goals come user demands, increased traffic, and a database. A company needs to ensure that these are taken care of while keeping up with performance and reliability. To do this effectively, the team will need to:
- Assess the current infrastructure by carrying out a comprehensive analysis of the current database, servers, networking components, third-party services, and so on.
- Implement a standard and robust load-balancing strategy in order to handle high traffic volumes and prevent any server load.
- Optimize your databases by indexing frequently accessed fields and partitioning large tables to efficiently handle increased loads.
- If you are on monolithic architecture, it would be appropriate to transition into a microservices architecture to achieve greater scalability and achievability.
- You can automate deployment processes by adopting continuous integration and deployment practices and using advanced tools.
The steps outlined here will help to navigate the challenges that arise in the CI/CD pipeline. Document and communicate your scaling and optimization strategy thoroughly as a long-term plan, ensuring visibility and facilitating the training of new members who may join later.
Practical Logix: Digital Product Development Expert
As we live in the dynamic world of digital development, the key measure of success is innovation and adaptability. Practical Logix is renowned for its expertise and excellence in digital product development. Our approach goes beyond conventional methodologies, embedding deep industry insights and user-centric strategies in every project. We recognize that the essence of successful digital product development lies in understanding the nuanced needs of users and the ever-evolving technological landscape. At Practical Logix, our expertise is not just in building digital products but in crafting experiences that leave a lasting impact. We dive deep into market research, ensuring that every solution we develop is not just relevant today but remains sustainable and adaptable for the future.
Our team, composed of seasoned professionals from various fields, collaborates to bring diverse perspectives and innovative solutions to the table. Our commitment to agile methodologies isn’t just about following a process; it’s about creating an environment where flexibility, quick iteration, and constant feedback are the norms. This approach allows us to adapt swiftly to changes, ensuring that the products we develop are not only cutting-edge but also aligned with real-time market demands.
Continuous testing and quality assurance are at the heart of our operations. We understand that in the fast-paced digital world, the margin for error is minimal. Our rigorous testing protocols and QA processes ensure that every product we deliver is of the highest quality, offering seamless user experiences. When it comes to scalability and optimization, Practical Logix excels in foreseeing potential challenges and opportunities. We design digital products that are not just scalable but also efficient and robust, capable of handling growing user demands and evolving business needs.