10 Essential Processes for Digital Product Development Success

craft.io Team Published: 10 Mar 2022 Updated: 17 May 2023
Group of people working on website template
Group of people working on website template

Undoubtedly, the digital age has arrived, matured, and transformed how businesses interact with customers. But going digital is more than just setting up a website or online store. It is an integration of user experiences, processes, funnels, services, and product deliveries. 

39% of outperforming companies have fully integrated digital to physical product strategies. The digital shift also has increased company profits. Digital-centric companies that focus on their digital customer experience can generate a 20-30% increase in customer satisfaction, which roughly translates into 20-50% economic gains.

Now is the time to embrace digital product development to help transform, upgrade and increase your profit margins. This post will look at digital product development, its benefits, and the ten essential processes for digital product development success. 

What is digital product development?

Digital product development is the process of creating a digital experience that connects a customer to your business electronically. It’s a defined methodology used by a company’s engineering and design teams to produce and deliver digital products. 

The digital product development process focuses on the user. It develops and constantly improves a product that meets unmet consumer demand and consistently raises their product experience using smart technology, consumer analytics, actionable data, design thinking, and marketing principles.

Common types of digital products include Saas (Software as a Service), Mobile Apps, Software-augmented hardware solutions (such as those found in the Internet of Things, aka the IoT), and IT solutions.

Digital product managers research, ideate, design, test, and iterate using customer data
Source: https://www.forrester.com/blogs/how-to-build-great-digital-products/

3 benefits of digital product development

Successful digital product development offers significant benefits, such as:

1. Insight

Digital products can be tracked. This data can give insights into your users’ demographics, usage frequency, trigger behaviors, and how they interact with the final goal. With more information about the user, a business can further optimize the digital products to increase their usefulness, ease of usage and create a service that serves the user as they need it.

2. Speed

With more data and insights, a business can create MVPs (minimum viable products) and be proactive towards emerging user needs. The business can remain competitive, gain real-time customer feedback, and adjust the digital product to align with what truly matters. Good digital product development processes also allow for quick design, wireframe, and prototyping iterations – resulting in a continuous improvement of user experience at scale.

3. Visibility

Good digital product development processes give the business visibility of progress and team productivity. It also helps uncover process inefficiencies such as bottlenecks, UI, and development issues. It also brings data to the forefront to produce a user-centric digital product.

The yellow brick road to smarter product roadmaps

10 Essential Processes for Digital Product Development Success

While every organization developing digital products will have its own set of standard processes, all successful ones include the following ten essentials: 

1. Ideation

A digital product does not exist in a vacuum. First, you need an idea – which means identifying what your customers and users might need. The aim of the idea should solve this need. Ideas can be generated through collaboration with various stakeholders within the business, such as customer service, marketing, employees, and what customers are saying about your current products.

2. Research

It’s one thing to come up with an idea, but it’s another to verify its demand. Research lets you identify the validity of your idea, understand your target customer segment, and see what others are doing in the market. It also allows you to see how a product can be commercialized and where it fits in your overall digital product strategy.

3. Hypothesis

A hypothesis creates the baseline for your digital product. It encapsulates your assumptions and expectations based on the data you have. How your digital product performs can indicate how accurate your market and research analysis is against your solution.

4. Budget

Knowing your budget can determine the size of your digital product, the resources it can sustain, and the delivery speed. A budget should include human resources, product management costs, and any ongoing digital infrastructures.

5. Minimal Viable Product (MVP)

It’s easy to come up with a large digital product that contains every feature imaginable. An MVP slims this down to the bare essentials to validate or realign your hypothesis. If the MVP is valid, then additional features and ideas can be included in subsequent sprint planning for delivery. If the MVP fails, it limits the costs to just those features

Minimal Viable Product
Source: https://blog.4geeks.io/5-phases-of-digital-product-development/

6. Design

Design lets you visualize your product and cut down development time by creating clear specifications. Tools that create interactive wireframe prototypes can be used as mock tests for your potential users. These mock-ups allow for data collection and design iterations before a digital product gets developed.

7. Rapid Prototyping

Rapid prototyping is a process of quickly turning your design into a working digital product through integration of agile methodologies and feature sprints delivery. The quicker a working digital product is available, the faster your business can move towards collecting data for idea validation and improvements.

8. MVP Validation

When a digital product is launched, it creates the opportunity to validate your idea against your hypothesis. It also means that your business is creating an action in the target audience’s space, resulting in a reaction. This reaction can be collected, measured, and analyzed.

9. Feedback Loop

A feedback loop is essential for any digital product development process. It ensures that your digital product remains relevant and on target towards fulfilling its purpose. A feedback loop can also help realign your digital product and help your business respond to changes in the market or any emerging requirements.

10. Scaling

When a digital product is aligned to your users’ needs, scaling becomes part of your business’ competitive edge. Whether it be on the number of features and/or users, the ability to grow can mean a general increase in your conversions and bottom line. In conjunction with the feedback loop, it can also help determine what should be in the long-term product roadmap.

The Living Roadmap

Being aware of your digital product’s trajectory through the various stages of its development is equivalent to having a living roadmap. To gain the benefits of insight, speed, and visibility, you need to know what your digital product is, who it serves, and why it needs to exist. 

Utilizing powerful product management tools allows your teams to collaborate and track each essential product development process as it unfolds. It makes it easier and more efficient to ideate, iterate, prototype, and consistently launch successful digital products – and increase your bottom line. 

craft.io Team
craft.io Team