I’ve got to admit it, I can be a bit slow on the development of new products. Far slower than I am at coming up with the ideas.
We use Evernote to keep track of all our product ideas, and the list grows much faster than we are building them.
And that means… we’re not growing as rapidly as we could be.
Quite simply, the more products we make, the more people we appeal to, the more we have to sell and the more revenue we generate.
It’s not complicated!
Historically though, developing products quickly hasn’t been my strong point. Part of the reason is that I’m currently still the person who does all the briefs and testing, obviously that’s going to have to change but…
…we’ve put a process into practice that’s massively increased the speed of generation.
In the last month alone we’ve developed two major products, a huge feature upgrade for an existing product as well as a load of bug fixes.
And that’s with just me being the primary contact for all development.
Imagine how much we’ll be creating when it’s someone else!
Now it just so happens that a lot of our products are software based, but this process will work for any type of product.
So what is the process for developing products super-fast?
Well the first step is to take your idea and strip everything away. And I mean everything.
Ideas are great, but they’re filled with a load of “stuff” that simply takes up time and space.
You need to get rid of it.
Take the first idea on your list and ask yourself:
“What problem is this product going to solve?”
Once you’ve got that answer take your idea and distill it down to the one core benefit that is going to solve that issue… remove everything else.
You should be able to write the sentence…
“USER wants to use FEATURE in order to solve PROBLEM”
Replace the words USER with your perfect customer, FEATURE with the single feature that you’ve distilled your product down to and PROBLEM with the issue that it’s going to solve.
If you can’t complete this as a single sentence then you’re idea hasn’t been distilled down enough.
Once you’ve written this sentence you now have the perfect product to build… you have the bare minimum that’s required to create something that’s going to solve one of the issues that your prospective customers have.
Anything that you make should be able to be put into this sentence whether it’s a new product or new feature for an existing product.
And the reason is…
You’re reducing your development time to the shortest possible by shrinking your idea to the MVP (Minimum Viable Product).
Consider this stage of your development the testing phase. You can add more features later if you want to, but you may find that you actually don’t need to.
Creating an MVP will enable you to release your product for a lot less in a lot less time than if you were trying to build out your entire idea.
If you release your product for a lot less, both in cost and time, then you’re going to find out much faster if it’s actually going to be popular.
If it is then great, you can take the feedback and add new features that your users are actually requesting instead of guessing what they may want.
If it isn’t as popular as you hoped, then you can ask both your customers and those who didn’t purchase what they don’t like about it and adjust it rapidly to make it into what they actually want.
What it becomes is a living development… it becomes a concept that’s being tested but can be changed quickly and easily (using the same process) if it’s not quite right first time.
And let’s be honest, most products aren’t quite right on their first release!
By breaking your idea down in this way you’ll also find that one idea may be able to be split up into three or more MVP’s, each one solving a different problem.
If each one solves a different problem but are related, then they’re the perfect upsells to your primary offer.
Using each MVP as small individual products instead of one big product will also generate you greater revenue and solve the question of what upsells you should put with them.
Once you start doing this you’re going to find that you’re able to triple or quadruple the speed with which you make products. The emphasis goes from trying to create the perfect product, which may actually not be perfect for your customers, to try and solve a problem as quickly as possible and then adjusting the product based on feedback from your customers.
You’ll almost certainly find that you’re making products so fast you need a way to manage their development, and I’ll share with you the software and process I use for this in my next post.