Getting your company’s flagship product or service to market is virtually impossible without experienced, knowledgeable product developers. Despite how experienced these teams are, some obstacles still continue to affect team performance and customer satisfaction.
Product development involves the process of creating new products or services based on the specifications provided. Product development teams also make modifications to existing products and services to satisfy the changing demands of customers. These experts magically transform your concept into a salable revenue stream, but even they can still struggle with these four things.
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- Not getting specifications right the first time
Although development teams are masters at deciphering specifications, from time-to-time even they can misunderstand or overlook specifications. Even the slightest error can lead to poor planning, incorrect objectives, budget overruns, scheduling problems, and team performance issues. This mistake creates rework and risks a lack of stakeholder and customer confidence.
To avoid specification oversights, teams should establish and follow a linear process across all development stages (specify, design, build, test), and closely monitor delivery to ensure the customer receives the right product the first time.
Procrastination is seldom intentional. Most of the time, when procrastination occurs, it is due to overloaded schedules and workloads, overconfidence, or simply not building in a contingency for unforeseen obstacles. Sometimes teams start the development process late in the game, thinking everything will go according to plan. Teams forget to build into their schedules operational factors such as staffing changes, sudden requests from other departments, or customer changes mid-steam; these unplanned changes can wreak havoc on delivery times. Even if your team starts development on time, procrastination can occur later in the process.
To address potential procrastination concerns, it is best to start development as soon as possible and build in additional time for unanticipated non-development-related issues that might affect your team’s ability to deliver quality products or services on time.
3. Focusing on nice-to-have features
When a customer provides a development team with specifications for a product or service, it is vital that your team meets those exact specifications. Your team may be able to deliver many nice-to-have features, but this can impede progress. These options should be mentioned upfront when meeting with a potential customer.
First, focus on the features that a customer specifies. Then discuss nice-to-have features with the customer only if the delivery of a product or service is ahead of schedule and only if it will not affect the existing requirements.
4. Ignoring feedback
At any stage of development, feedback is being sent and received by customers, business leadership, team members, other functional groups, vendors, or other stakeholders. Ignoring any input might result in costly mistakes. Regardless of where the feedback is coming from, it is necessary to turn over every stone to make sure your team is not missing something of value. What may seem mundane can turn out to be of considerable value in a later stage of a project.
Listen to all feedback and resist the urge to disregard the experience of others. Ignoring feedback can become harmful to the success of a development team and ultimately, customers.