Even for the most successful ecommerce businesses, the journey to a finished product rarely resembles a straight line. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, the product development process might even seem shrouded in mystery—how does an idea in your head become a 3D object you can hold in your hands?

Effective product development involves market research, product management, and plenty of trial and error. While every story is different, there are a few best practices founders take on the road to starting a business and shipping a finished product.

In this guide, learn everything you need to know about the product development lifecycle as well as tactics to improve your workflow to help you bring your vision to life.

What is product development?

Product development refers to the complete process of taking a product from idea to market. It also describes the process of renewing an existing product or introducing an old product to a new market. This includes identifying market needs, conceptualizing the product, building a product roadmap, launching a product, and collecting feedback.

New product development (NPD) specifically refers to creating a new product from scratch and bringing it to a market. The process doesn’t end until the product life cycle is over. And, you can continue the product development process after launch by collecting user feedback and iterating on the product and developing new versions.

Who is responsible for product development?

A diverse group of people works together at a long tableIn any company, whether an early stage business or an established corporation, product development unites every department, including design, engineering, manufacturing, product marketing, UI/UX, and more. Each group within the product development team plays an essential part in the process to define, design, build, test, and deliver the product. The complexities of the product development lifecycle makes product management all that more important.

How to create a product development plan

A product…

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