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Top 20 Critical Product Development Process Steps Not To Miss


12 min read

When it comes to software development outsourcing, many are willing to reduce costs, which oftentimes results in compromised product quality and costly fixes afterward. It’s essential to follow a new product creation lifecycle precisely to optimize the product development process and achieve a better cost-to-value ratio.

The unfortunate statistics reveal that 90% of startups fail over time, with a poor development approach chosen being one of the top mistakes. 

In this article, you will learn about the reasons you should follow the complete fintech product development strategy. Besides, you’ll review the 20 steps that need to be taken in developing a software product.

Why It’s Necessary to Understand and Follow Product Development Life Cycle

Here at DashDevs, we realize the importance of following a strict new product development process. Here are our reasons why you need to go through each of the steps without skipping any: 

  • Acquire economic benefits through automation. For instance, automation of some development processes needs to be conducted in the beginning, while some owners consider it only at the final step in the product development process. One example of automation that is more beneficial to implement at the beginning of the development process is setting up a Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipeline. This ensures that code changes are automatically tested and deployed, leading to faster development cycles and higher code quality.
  • Obtain complete insight into associated risks. An efficient software development lifecycle includes both technical steps, such as requirement testing, and strategic steps, such as target market research or building an MVP. Some businesses decide to eliminate certain development processes in order to get their product at the lowest possible price, it most likely will only result in end product deterioration leading to unnecessary expenses. 
  • Optimize technology stack choices. Choosing the right technology stack at the beginning of the development cycle is crucial. By thoroughly evaluating and selecting the appropriate tools, frameworks, and platforms early on, we ensure that the product is built on a solid foundation. This proactive approach prevents the need for costly technology changes or migrations later in the development process, enhancing overall project efficiency and performance.
  • Ensure compliance and quality. Adhering to a structured product development lifecycle ensures that all compliance and quality standards are met. This includes following industry regulations, conducting thorough testing, and implementing best practices for security and usability. By embedding these considerations into each phase of development, we mitigate the risk of compliance issues and quality defects, which can be costly and time-consuming to address after the product launch.

From my experience, I know that many teams do not adhere to the full product development cycle. Here at DashDevs, we advocate for not skipping or putting little effort into any of the steps, as the cost-savings oftentimes aren’t worth the deterioration in the quality of the ready products. 

Looking for a trusted vendor to run an efficient product development process? Reach out to DashDevs and let’s discuss opportunities. 

Top 20 product development steps

Phase 1: Market Discovery

The new product development life cycle always starts with the business evaluation of opportunities and setting up the stage for the technical phases, also known as market discovery. 

#1 Conduct Market, Target Audience, and Competitor Research and analysis

Begin by thoroughly researching the target market to understand the niche your product will enter. This research provides a foundation for defining a product that meets market demands and stands out from the competition. Key activities include:

  • Conduct surveys and focus groups with potential users to understand their needs, preferences, and pain points
  • Analyze industry reports and market trends to identify current and future opportunities
  • Identify key competitors and assess their product offerings, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Study potential customers’ reviews and feedback on competitor products
  • Evaluate the market size and potential for growth in your target niche

You may be interested in exploring how the DashDevs team approaches the product discovery phase from our respective service page. 

#2 Define Project Goals and Scope and Gather Technical Requirements

Once market insights are gathered, you need to define the overarching goals and scope of your project. Clearly articulate what the project aims to achieve and the specific problems it seeks to solve. DashDevs product development team recommends collaborating with stakeholders to gather detailed technical requirements. Here are measures to implement at this stage: 

  • Set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals
  • Outline the primary features and functionalities of the product
  • Gather input from stakeholders and technical experts to refine requirements

#3 Define the Tech Stack, Dev Approach, and Management Strategy

Based on the project’s requirements and goals, choose the appropriate technology stack and development approach. This includes selecting:

  • Programming languages
  • Frameworks
  • Software tools
  • APIs, such as open banking or banking APIs
  • Project management customer relationship management (CRM) software

Additionally, establish a management strategy, such as Agile or Scrum, to guide the development process efficiently and effectively.

Explore how to choose a tech stack for web app development from another blog post by DashDevs. 

#4 Create Documentation

Document all findings, requirements, and strategies developed during the earlier discovery phase steps. This comprehensive documentation serves as a reference throughout the project and ensures all stakeholders are aligned. It should include:

  • Market research data
  • Project goals and scope, as well as business, functional, and non-functional requirements
  • User personas and user stories
  • Regulatory and compliance requirements
  • Chosen tech stack, development approach, and management strategy

Time estimate for the market discovery and requirements gathering phase: 4-9 weeks

Let the DashDevs team contribute to your best project with our expertise and experience

Phase 2: Design

In the next product development steps, the design of the intended product is prepared. The results will serve as blueprints for the upcoming stages of development. 

#5 Develop Initial Wireframes and Mockups

Create initial wireframes and mockups to visualize the structure and layout of your application. These visual guides help in understanding the placement of various elements and provide a preliminary look at the user interface (UI). Typically, designers start by sketching basic layouts for key screens, then using wireframing tools like Figma, Sketch, or Adobe XD to create detailed wireframes. 

You may discover how the tandem or a BA with a design in product development works from another blog post by DashDevs. 

#6 Create High-Fidelity Prototypes

Transform your wireframes and mockups into high-fidelity prototypes. These prototypes offer a closer representation of the final product, including detailed design elements and interactive features. Use tools like Figma, InVision, or Adobe XD to create interactive prototypes that reflect the actual user flow and interactions. Ensure the prototypes include real or realistic data to enhance their fidelity. 

Developed prototypes provide a more polished visual representation of the application. Besides, they are often used to gather feedback from stakeholders to obtain feedback early and refine wireframes and mockups before passing them to development steps. 

#7 Test and Iterate on Design Based on Results and Feedback

In the best-case scenario, here a team, together with stakeholders, conducts a thorough testing of the high-fidelity prototypes, which should include:

  • Conducting usability testing sessions with real users or focus groups
  • Collecting qualitative and quantitative feedback on the design and user experience

Based on the results, it’s possible to identify common pain points. It all serves the goal of making iterative design changes based on testing. 

Note: Testing and interaction substeps may be repeated multiple times until satisfactory results are received. It’s essential not to skip this step, as bad design choices will result in costly fixes after product release. 

DashDevs aims to be a one-stop shop for all your fintech needs. Aside from development, you can request UI/UX design development services at our corresponding service page. 

Time estimate for the design phase: 3-5  weeks

Phase 3: Development Preparation

The next phase of the product development lifecycle is focused on the preparation for the actual development, and it’s known as Sprint 0. As stated earlier, any preparation should not be neglected and it has a direct impact on the effectiveness and investment efficiency of the entire project. 

#8 Set Up Development Environment and Tools

Begin by setting up the development environment to ensure all team members have the necessary tools and configurations to start coding. This involves:

  • Installing essential software such as Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), code editors, and version control systems.
  • Configuring development servers
  • Setting up collaborating tools
  • Installing and configuring dependencies and libraries
  • Configuring development tools

Establishing a consistent development environment across all product development team members helps maintain uniformity. It minimizes discrepancies, which is especially in the cases of cross-collaboration between dev teams.

#9 Establish CI/CD Pipeline

Set up a Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipeline to automate the process of code integration, testing, and deployment. This pipeline ensures that code changes are automatically tested and deployed to different environments. The desired outcome here is a faster development process and higher code quality. Some common CI/CD tools include Jenkins, GitLab CI, or CircleCI.

#10 Define Technical Architecture

Now, you need to establish the technical architecture for the project, detailing how different components will interact to form the overall structure of the application. The technical architecture guides the development process, ensuring that all parts of the system work together seamlessly. Tech architecture is where teams put lots of effort to be able to meet required standards for performance, scalability, and security.. 

You may discover how DashDevs approaches software architecture development from our respective service page. 

#11 Plan Development Sprints and Milestones

In this stage of the product development cycle, break down the project into manageable sprints, each focusing on specific features or components. Define clear milestones to track progress and ensure timely delivery of key functionalities. Use project management tools like Jira or Trello to organize and manage the sprints, assigning tasks to product development team members and setting deadlines. Regular sprint reviews and retrospectives will help in continuously improving the development process.

Time estimate for the development preparation phase: 2-4 weeks

Phase 4: Core Development

These product development steps focus on creating the actual functionalities of the product and bringing the design prototypes to life. As per Agile practices, which the DashDevs team follows, development steps are also iterative. It means that the cycle of writing a part of the code, testing, and making updates to it is repeated multiple times until the product is ready. Core development and QA steps somewhat overlap, but in this post, for a more simplistic explanation, they are detailed as subsequent steps. 

#12 Implement Core Features and Functionality

Core features and functionality implementation involves translating the requirements and design specifications into actual code. Focus on building the essential components that form the backbone of the application, ensuring they work as intended and meet the defined requirements. Here it’s essential to:

  • Prioritize features based on the project requirements
  • Develop core functionalities 
  • Ensure that each feature is thoroughly tested before integration into the main codebase.

#13 Develop Adaptive and Responsive Design

Develop an adaptive and responsive design to ensure the application delivers a seamless user experience across different devices and screen sizes. This involves creating flexible layouts and using responsive design techniques to adjust the UI elements dynamically. 

It’s essential to understand that oftentimes, products are created with a mobile-first approach in mind. That’s why adaptation of the design to various screen sizes with flexible grid layouts is regarded as one of the critical processes. Additionally. It’s essential to optimize images and other assets for performance across different devices. 

#14 Conduct Regular Code Reviews

Conduct regular code reviews to maintain high code quality and ensure that the code adheres to the project’s standards and best practices. Code reviews help in identifying potential issues early, improving the overall quality of the codebase, and facilitating knowledge sharing among team members. From our experience, the Dashdevs team can recommend:

  • Schedule regular code review sessions 
  • Use code review tools
  • Provide constructive feedback focusing on code quality, readability, and security
  • Address the feedback and make necessary improvements in a timely manner before merging the code into the main branch

Time estimate for the core development phase: 3-5 months

Entrust your project to the team of most experienced fintech engineers 

Phase 5: Quality Assurance (QA)

The next phase of any product development strategy is centered around making sure that the code works as intended and that no bugs or errors are left. 

You can discover more about and request Quality Assurance services from DashDevs at our respective service page. 

#15 Conduct Manual and Automated Testing

Ensure the application works as expected by conducting both manual and automated testing. It’s possible to engage small user groups to aid with some forms of manual testing. Manual testing involves the following types:

  • User Interface (UI) testing
  • Usability testing
  • Exploratory testing
  • Functional testing
  • Regression testing

In their turn, automated tests include:

  • Integration testing
  • End-to-end tests
  • Performance tests
  • Security tests
  • Unit tests

You may learn more about whether your product needs user testing from another blog post by DashDevs. 

#16 Prepare and Review Test Documentation

Create comprehensive test documentation to ensure all testing activities are well-documented and can be reviewed by stakeholders. This documentation should include:

  • Test plans
  • Test cases
  • Test scripts
  • Test results

Prepare detailed test plans outlining the scope, objectives, and approach for testing. Develop test cases that describe specific conditions and expected outcomes for testing different parts of the application. Document test scripts used for automated testing and capture the results of all tests performed. Regularly review the test documentation to ensure it remains up-to-date and reflects the current state of the application. 

Time estimate for the QA phase: 2-4 weeks

Your intended product to develop is a neobank? If so, consider Fintech Core by DashDevs. It’s a white-label modular solution for the fast creation and market launch of neobanks.

Phase 6: Deployment and Market Launch

Finally, when a product is developed, well-tested, and approved by stakeholders for release, you need to proceed with deployment and launch product development steps. 

#17 Deploy Application to Production Environment

Deploy the application to the production environment to make it available to users. This involves moving the application from the development or staging environment to the live production environment. Prepare the production environment and perform final checks to validate the application’s readiness. Use deployment automation tools and scripts to streamline the process and monitor the deployment to promptly address any issues that arise.

#18 Implement Analytics and Monitoring Tools

Implement analytics and monitoring tools to track the application’s performance, user behavior, and overall health. These instruments will help to obtain valuable insights into the product’s performance. Additionally, they will be utilized to gather bug reports and feedback. Altogether, it will eventually translate into making data-driven decisions and identifying areas for improvement. At this stage, we recommend setting up the following:

  • Analytics tools like Google Analytics or Amplitude
  • Monitoring Tools like New Relic or Splunk
  • Configure alerts and notifications

#19 Collect User Feedback and Bug Reports

Collect feedback from users to understand their experiences, identify issues, and gather suggestions for improvement. To make this possible, you need to establish channels for users to report bugs and provide feedback easily. Here are some common feedback mechanisms:

  • Feedback forms
  • Surveys
  • In-app feedback channels
  • Direct feedback channels like customer support email
  • Error reports

#20 Plan and Implement Future Updates and Enhancements

Based on the feedback and data collected, plan and implement future updates and enhancements to continuously improve the application. Prioritize features and fixes that will provide the most value to users and address any critical issues. 

Here at DashDevs, we recommend creating a product roadmap for future updates, including new features, improvements, and bug fixes. As a part of the new product development process, schedule regular update cycles. They will ensure that the application remains current and competitive. 

Time estimate for deployment and launch phase: 1-2 weeks

Note: For accurate time estimates, contact a trusted fintech development agency and ask for a project quote. 

Reach out to DashDevs, should you need product development services or any other fintech assistance from experienced developers. 

Final Take

In pursuit of competitive development, it is essential not to miss the point when the cost-cutting outvalues the well-timed implementation. In the list above, we’ve put together only the most critical items that can improve the product and minimize the cost of maintenance in the long run.

Consider DashDevs as your primary choice for a trusted product development service provider. With more than 13 years of experience in the niche and over 500 projects successfully completed, we are ready, willing, and able to run product development of any complexity for your business. We follow the complete lifecycle for product development, yet, approach every project individually to deliver exactly the outcomes you need. 

Contact us

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Table of contents
What is product development?
Product development is the process of bringing a new product to market. It encompasses the creation of an initial product concept through design, development, and launch, following a structured new product development life cycle.
What are stages of the product development life cycle?
The stages of the product development life cycle include ideation, research, design, prototyping, development, testing, launch, and post-launch evaluation.
What is the difference between PDLC and SDLC?
PDLC (Product Development Life Cycle) focuses on bringing a physical product to market, while SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) focuses on planning, creating, testing, and deploying software products.
How can I start manufacturing a product?
Start manufacturing a product by conducting market research, creating a detailed product design, selecting a reliable manufacturer, prototyping, and then moving to mass production. You need to adhere to the strict product development process to succeed.
How much does it cost to develop a new product?
The cost to develop a new product varies widely based on complexity, materials, and industry, typically ranging from thousands to millions of dollars, including research, design, prototyping, and production.
What is the final step in the product development process?
The final step in the product development process is post-launch evaluation, which involves analyzing the product's performance, gathering customer feedback, and making necessary improvements.