Step 1 – Idea Sourcing
We know how tempting it might be to write a code right after you come up with the one brilliant idea. The tricky thing here is that this idea may have already been implemented. As a startup owner, you should invest time in idea generation first. It will help you filter all basic ideas and come up with the most non-trivial solutions. Here're 2 ways you can do that effectively:
Research. Searching for trends, growing industries, high-invested products – gathering all this information takes time, but it's worth it. It gives you a bigger picture of the market and saves time later on.
Brainstorm. It's a process of generating all possible ideas that come to your mind. To organize it correctly, you need to create an open-minded atmosphere, exclude criticism, and last but not least, gather a diverse team. Mixing people from different professional areas and with different backgrounds is the best idea as it promotes innovations. The diverse team is called cross-functional. You may read more about its benefits here.
Step 2 – Idea Screening
With the list of ideas in your hands, it's time to define specifications. First, pick top-3 ideas you and your team decided to develop. Then you may use SWOT analysis. It helps filter ideas that look attractive but not reachable and pick only the most powerful and realistic ones.
The main point of this stage of the product management cycle is to check the idea's feasibility. There is no sense in zeroing in on an idea that you can't build.
Step 4 – Strategy Development
Congrats, you're one step away from building a product. But no need to rush. Creating a product development strategy is a good planning test for the Product Manager. While market research and customer development shaped the product's vision, strategy defines the steps you plan to take to meet your product vision over time.
The best way to break the product strategy into steps of execution is a product roadmap. Here're 6 points the product roadmap must include:
- Business goals and objectives
- Product areas
- Features of a product
- Key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Order of priorities
Note that a product roadmap is a tool for the whole team. Before starting to move further, make sure that all of you are on the same page.
Step 5 – Product Creation
There's no need to launch the product as right as rain – take it as a mantra during all the product management processes. First of all, perfect doesn't equal effectiveness. Secondly, minor failures are excusable if you have a startup idea that disrupts the industry.
So, at the stage of product creation, it's better to focus on the value. Implement features that solve the customers' pains or enable higher customer engagement and cut off the rest, at least at this stage. A landing page or a simple app could be enough to test the value and see the first reaction to the solution. Feel free to jump to the next curve with the minimum viable product (MVP) and make sure it serves its purposes.
Step 6 – Testing Feedback Gathering
When the MVP is released, it's time to set up a feedback collection mechanism. Firstly, check how a user interacts with your product, capture feedback, find possible improvements. Then communicate the product requirements to the team, implement changes, and test. You should go through this cycle during the entire product development process.
Note feedback collection may go in parallel with development. You shouldn’t wait until the implementation.
Step 7 – Constant Product Improvement
Though the software product management process is not the endpoint, at this stage, things are coming to sustaining your business. The focus shifts again to optimization and efficiency. Try to think of possible ways of scaling, operations improvements, business outcomes maintenance while minimizing costs and optimizing efficiencies.
It's important to remember that product development isn't a linear process. As a startup founder, you need to stay flexible and cultivate both self and team resilience.
Product Management Tip:
Make your top customers the first source of improvements. From our experience, we realized that people who found your product useful are the best advisors and critics. The best thing you can do is to let them have these roles.
We create communities of our top users and get feedback from them regularly. So, our customers become contributors to the product development process.
The product management process isn't just a group of steps you need to follow. Each stage should have a purpose and goal, not just be implemented. With this in mind and our guide at hands, you'll pass a product management cycle successfully.
If you're looking for support with your startup idea, contact us to share your rides and discuss collaboration. With our experience, we know how to lead your idea from validation to complete realization of the business needs