In today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, disruption has become the norm. To remain competitive, product companies must develop high-quality products at a fast pace while ensuring an exceptional customer experience. Creating a comprehensive software product managing operational costs and risks is a complex process that involves multiple actions and decisions.
It is imperative for technology companies to implement well-defined mechanisms that proactively address the continuously evolving elements of the product lifecycle, such as shorter development cycles and product version shelf life. To succeed in this demanding and ever-changing environment, these companies require innovative product engineering solutions and services that cover the entire product lifecycle.
What is Product Engineering?
Product engineering is responsible for all stages of a product’s journey, starting from the initial innovation or strategy phase, all the way through design, development, testing to maintenance and support.
With the advent of new technologies and software delivery models, the landscape of product engineering services has evolved to go beyond traditional software engineering. These services are specifically designed to meet the needs of the techno-business environment and enable products to achieve their full potential.
According to ReportLinker’s study, the increasing demand to accelerate a product’s time-to-market (TTM) is expected to drive the product engineering services market to reach a size of $1.4 Trillion by 2027. Additionally, the US market is estimated to reach $243.1 Billion.
In today’s competitive market, product companies must plan accordingly to remain relevant. As a result, many businesses are turning to strategic technology partners to help them leverage Product Engineering Services to achieve their goals.
With the right strategic technology partner, product companies can develop their vision into a marketable product and release new features with the speed, quality, and innovation necessary to stay ahead of the competition. This approach to product engineering is becoming increasingly popular and has proven to be a valuable tool for companies striving to maintain their competitive edge.
The 6 Phases of Product Engineering
The phases of the product engineering lifecycle can be broadly divided into six stages.
1. Strategy or Innovation
At the outset of the product engineering life cycle, the first step is to conceive the idea and begin strategizing the process to transform it into a successful working product.
During this stage, subject matter experts and market researchers analyze the idea to assess its feasibility and potential risks. Opting for professional product innovation services can often be a wise decision at this stage.
2. Requirement Analysis and Product Design
Once the idea has been confirmed and approved, the subsequent stage is to create the product’s technical and functional architecture as well as its user interface.
This involves analyzing the product’s requirements and performing exercises to differentiate between priority features, such as “must-have” versus “nice-to-have,” and evaluating their value and productivity.
During the design phase, product managers, designers, and technical architects play critical roles in the evolution of the product.
3. Product Development
The subsequent phase involves the development of the product, which necessitates a combination of core development skills and technical and managerial expertise.
The development team relies on guidance from product managers/owners, designers, and architects to determine what should be built. To succeed in the highly competitive product engineering field, companies need to maintain consistent software product development capabilities. Development teams should implement established methodologies and processes to ensure quality and timely delivery of the product.
Product companies may opt to engage a vendor to assist with product development services in various capacities.
4. Product Testing/ Quality Assurance (QA)
Quality assurance activities are crucial to ensure the creation of an outstanding product that is ready for the market. During this phase, the product undergoes rigorous quality checks to confirm that it conforms to the design specifications and possesses excellent usability and user experience.
Product testing and QA services function similarly to internal testing units within product organizations and can be beneficial when there is a heightened demand for QA activities and resources.
5. Product Deployment Phase
After the product has been developed, it is launched in the market and monitored for user feedback and evolving market trends. The product is then refined or enhanced, and subsequent releases are made available to the market.
To ensure a favorable market position, product companies should prioritize continuous integration and delivery practices, allowing development teams to frequently and reliably implement code changes.
Depending on the product’s nature, this phase may also include product implementation for clients or customer onboarding services, with customization or extensions being made if necessary and relevant.
6. Product Support & Maintenance
For products to be successful in the market, it’s essential to have support and maintenance services in place. These services are necessary to resolve any ongoing issues related to the product itself or its implementation.
Additionally, support and maintenance services in the product engineering life cycle may involve addressing customer inquiries and assisting them in troubleshooting during product usage.
Product Engineering Best Practices
By following best practices during product engineering, time can be saved, and a standardized approach can be implemented to achieve optimal outcomes. Adopting software product engineering best practices yields benefits such as creating and sustaining dependable, effective software systems with minimal maintenance costs and heightened customer satisfaction.
Outlined below are some recommended product engineering best practices:
Build and iterate
To learn from technical challenges and enhance the product, it’s recommended to introduce new features in iterations, allowing for measurement and evaluation of their impact. Starting with riskier and critical path items is advisable.
Measure what matters
To achieve the desired outcome and enhance performance, it’s important to identify and measure the metrics related to the product. These metrics may include operating costs and system-wide complexity, among others.
Introduce design sprints
Design sprints and workshops are beneficial for bringing teams together to brainstorm solutions for complex issues and validate them with actual customers.
It’s important to leverage the knowledge and skills of designers and developers within the team during the planning and development phases. Additionally, collaborating with various departments such as sales, marketing, and customer support is crucial for alignment.
Keep code consistent
A consistent codebase style guide is essential. A methodical and thorough approach simplifies team collaboration and improves overall productivity.
Choosing the Right Partner for Your Product
When choosing a strategic partner for product engineering, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, ensure that the vendor has credibility and relevant experience in working with similar organizations. They should have the ability to provide top-notch solutions and services, with an expert team possessing domain and technical knowledge.
Additionally, the partner should offer continuous support throughout the product engineering life cycle and comply with mandatory industry regulations and policies. Finally, consider their partnerships and agnostic approach to ensure they have the right knowledge and approach to provide the best solutions aligned with objectives.
To succeed in the ever-evolving technology-driven business landscape, product companies or ISVs must prepare for the future. Engaging the services of expert product engineering vendors can assist companies in bringing their ideas to fruition, optimizing their product potential, and outshining their competitors.