Many leading businesses understand that developing new products is complex. To manufacture smart products, they recognize the need of implementing the best digital product development process in order to gain the optimum result.

They recognize that the need to leverage digital tech to manufacture smart products is to seed an idea of implementing the best digital product development process.

Do you think executing traditional- waterfall approach would create more complexities?

Ofcourse, in the era of digital revolution, developing a smart product with a clear waterfall structure is like preparing an unplanned roadblock. If you are tired of struggling with building a smart product with a traditional approach don’t worry, you are not alone. All you need is a shift to accommodate the new evolving world of digital technology.

For instance, imagine a home that anticipates your every need with just one click. Does it sound like science fiction? Maybe yes but this is the fact in today’s era.

Well, the credit goes to the emerging improvements in the field of technology. IoT is the key component in connecting devices, sharing the data, using sensors, and communication hardware that helps in building the best digital products for consumers.

From developing a food delivery app to manufacturing home automation systems that simplify our daily chores, smart products for digital industry 4.0 have shaped businesses and life.

What is Digital Product Development?

Digital Product Development is the process of bringing an idea to real-life with cutting-edge technologies, best approaches and suitable strategies.

How does a digital product come to life, to a practical reality? Where do you start from? Is there any roadmap to find the best approach?

Fortunately, yes! We’ve come up with the six stages of the digital product development lifecycle. While each product is different, the creation of the product follows a series of steps.

Digital Product Development Phases

The lifecycle defines six fundamental steps. It starts with computerization and connectivity. These two digitization stages are the basic requirements for the development of any digital product. Later adds four more stages to achieve digital maturity.

  • Stage 1 | Computerisation

The first phase is the actual path that provides the basis of digitalisation. Computerization aids in design, fabrication and planning process. Various information technologies are used to computerise and perform multiple tasks, multiple times efficiently.

Though there are many machines that work manually without any digital intervention. You can integrate them by adopting digital transformation with terminal interfaces. These often act as a missing link between the business applications and machines.

  • Stage 2 | Connectivity

Earlier even without smart connectivity, machines were tested before launching. Those launched products were monitored and controlled by humans. Even before IoT was introduced, machines were tested before launch, monitored and controlled post launch. Even then, questions like who is the target audience, why, how and when the product is used, product’s lifespan, and what are the risks involved were discussed.

However, in the digital product development process, the rise of connectivity that involves integration of IoT, IIoT would help in shaping and shifting the product requirements. With the involvement of IT and OT connectivity, the design is pushed to production and manufactured to real time via MES systems to track the production. It helps in creating integrated approaches from design to final production.

  • Stage 3 | Visibility

With the help of digitalization, sensors can detect fall, and network technology can detect and record real time events. It helps to maintain the digital products updated.

Visibility allows businesses to make data-driven decisions to enhance product success. Moreover, the viability of the product in the market can give you real-time data on the usage behaviour of the customers. Bottlenecks, poor UI designs and any other issues are easily identified and resolved.

  • Stage 4 | Transparency

Identify and analyse the captured data to interpret interactions of digital shadow. Use of big data applications parallel to MES and ERP systems provides a common platform that is used to carry out analysed data.

Transparency of the data is required for predictive maintenance of the products. This stage of the digital product development lifecycle can help in monitoring the manufacturing equipment and its functioning.

  • Stage 5 | Predictability

Predictability is a stage of digital product development where the abstract traces are depicted to identify the unwanted exposure against external threats. The fifth stage of digital product development is predictability where it helps in depicting the future scenarios in projecting the digital shadow. As a result, businesses can anticipate the future deployment.

Events that are manually carried out will show a negative impact. Reducing unexpected events enables robust business operations. It helps in flagging up recurring logistics issues in prior. Company’s future prediction capacity depends on primary interactions and groundwork. Abstracted traces with efficient decisions will ensure high standard production of digital products.

  • Stage 6 | Adaptability

Adapting to the new technology and manufacturing technology-driven products allows a company to delegate certain IT decisions. The goal is to achieve adaptability and use the data from the digital twin to make decisions in the shortest time. It helps to implement measures using automation and operate businesses at a speed of today’s digital world without much human intervention.

That’s all with the stages of digital product development.

However, there are multiple methods or approaches to develop a digital product successfully. The emerging industrial revolution has brought smart factories and smart manufacturing with high automation connected to high-tech networks. However, every company has its own way of implementing and offering digital product development services.

There are digital product development companies that are influenced by the new technological advancements. It leads to the production of innovative smart products to meet the market requirements. On the other hand, society plays a key role in the environment impact, health and safety issues.

Now let us understand the various models adopted by different companies for digital product development.

Digital Product Development – Approaches

We’ve laid the above general stages of product development. However, there are specific models that a digital product development agency often uses to develop a digital product. Let us take a closer look at each one of them.

Waterfall Development

Waterfall Development

This is the most common traditional approach to develop a digital product. It offers a stage-based framework involving linear stages from ideation to launch.

Unlike the Agile method, waterfall focuses on intense paperwork for each stage.

Before each phase starts, there’s a stage that previews before stepping to the next. It establishes scope and timeline where you can understand the entire product process at launch. Waterfall development is a fit for companies having ample budget, tech stack and timeline. In-house projects can benefit with this approach.

Agile Development

Agile Development

Agile development emphasises on face-to-face communication with rapid and flexible response to change. It splits the development cycle into short time slot iterations. Agile method does not look back to the previous stage until the entire product development is completed. It mainly focuses on:

  • Provide updated versions
  • Monitoring performance of the product and receiving feedback
  • Going back to the first step of the development to improve updates
  • Aligning team on updated versions

Lean Development

Lean Development

Lean development approach is the transformation of Toyota’s lean manufacturing to build digital products. It generally relates to removing the wasteful processes. This improves businesses efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

While implementing this method, digital product developers and engineers should consider all the processes and eliminate their down-streaming effects while developing a digital product. It improves the visibility, coordination and workflow throughout.

Feature-driven Development

Feature-driven Development

It is one of the agile development offspring where companies shift from phase-based to iterative approach. The approach is design-oriented splitted into parts namely features. The process cycle of a feature-driven approach involves overall model development, list of features, planning and designing, implementation, etc. However, small projects are unlikely to benefit from such an approach.

Hybrid Development

Hybrid Development

Where most startups are adapting to agile development, many others are demanding a hybrid approach- combination of agile and waterfall development. You can customize the approach according to the development and requirement of the product. The dependencies between the two methods will synchronize as the waterfall approach focuses on upfront planning and agile prefers a progressive plan at every stage.

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Which Approach is the Best for Your Digital Product Development?

Approach for Digital Product Development Process

There is no such thing as “the best approach” for your digital development product. Moreover, most startups stick to one method during the entire development process.

Having said that, the most preferred approach is the agile method. It is said that the “Global Demand of Agile Development and Testing Services Market Size Will Exceed USD 30 Billion by 2026.”

An highly adaptable process where it focuses on breaking down the large project into smaller parts for improvements.

Agile methodology helps in testing the performance during each iteration to identify the issues and lead quick modifications. Agile methodology with modern digital engineering services can create wonders.

Final Words- Digital Product Development

From ideation to launch of a new product, digital product development includes stages as mentioned above.

To launch a successful digital product, the Agile approach suits best. If you are about to plunge into product development, partner with Excellent Webworld for expert advice on how to go ahead with the stages and which approach is right for you. It’s the best digital product development company that knows how to leverage the data and provide you with the possible foundation to launch a new product.

Along with discussing the idea of developing a product with their digital product engineers, you can also take a step further to develop an app after the launch to reach out to a wider audience.

Along with discussing the idea of developing a product with the embedded software engineer, you can also take a step further to develop an app after the launch to reach out to a wider audience.