The 5 Most Common Product Development Risks (And How To Manage Them)

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Last updated on April 30th, 2021

Gone are those days when a product once developed and tested was considered final for shipping. Organizations did not upgrade products for so long that a new release was often promoted as a “next-generation” product. Even users were habituated to using the same product for a long time. Of course, that has changed now.
Today’s users expect always more features and benefits from a product. Their expectations and needs evolve continuously. Organizations have to constantly innovate to retain users and acquire new ones.
This has led organizations to adopt new technologies such as cloud and practice methodologies such as DevOps and Agile to quickly develop, test, and release new products and product versions. However, this need for speed could bring with it some risks. Let’s look at the common types of risks that a product might face during development.

5 Common Product Development Risks

1. Customer experience risks
The product may either miss out on key features that a user expects from the product or have too many features that could confuse the user. In some cases, the product might not solve an important enough problem at all. Utility and user experience are now the twin pillars that support a successful product. So, the outcome will be disastrous if the product does not offer a good experience to its users.
2. Technical and operational risks
To meet the rapidly changing user expectations, organizations need to invest in modern tools, technologies, and new processes. They also need to have a team of experts who can quickly strategize and build new products or features. This may often come down to the ability to convert a product or feature idea into a working product at pace and with skill. Failure to invest in technical capabilities, skilled resources, and an execution mindset could severely hurt the product and result in unmanageable technical debt and deep operational risks.
3. Quality risks
Sometimes organizations compromise on the product quality in a bid to launch the product quickly. However, users will use a product only if its quality passes muster. Quality covers everything from the user interface to the security of the product. Users today will lose interest or trust if the product does not meet their quality expectations, becomes non-functional, or presents a clunky or sub-optimal working experience.
4. Financial risks
Organizations could run into financial risks if their product development budget is mismanaged. Organizations will face a tough time developing, innovating, and marketing the product if they do not find a way to develop, test, and release the product within their resources. This often depends on their ability to choose the right technology partner with the perfect set of skills and execution ability.
5. Compliance risks
Users have become increasingly aware of how some organizations misuse their data. Hence, they expect organizations to be transparent about data privacy. Even governments have imposed strict regulations such as CCPA and GDPR to safeguard data privacy. Falling short of these compliance regulations could attract heavy fines for the organization and stall product uptake.

How To Manage These Product Development Risks?

Here are some ways to manage the product development risks effectively.
1. Focus on the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX)
The UI and UX are essential to a good product. In fact, studies reveal that every dollar a company invests to increase usability receives $10-$100 in benefits and wins customer satisfaction and loyalty. The only way to solve the customer experience risk is by focusing on the product’s UI and UX. The product development team should:
  • Research on the persona of their end-user and their product expectations
  • Plan a roadmap on how the user must use the product
  • Create a detailed wireframe to build the initial structure of the product
  • Create a prototype to ensure that it meets the user’s expectation
The product development team must ensure that the product is compatible with all devices with different screen sizes and OS, and every part of the product must meet its functionality. Rather than cramming the product with too many features, include only the must-have features and the essential workflows initially. The good-to-have features can be included in the eventual product upgrades.
2. Use DevOps
A product can thrive in a competitive market only if it continually innovates. Organizations are increasingly looking at ways to innovate, develop, and test new features or products faster. They also want to ensure that there are no compromises with product quality. DevOps can help organizations balance between faster development and quality. According to the State of DevOps Report, organizations that use DevOps in product development deploy 30 times more frequently and have 60 times fewer failures. DevOps helps crash the product development lifecycle and deliver new updates, features continuously. By defining a product development strategy, using the right technology stack, and building a DevOps culture, the organization will be able to solve the technology and operational risks of developing a product.
3. Go serverless
Traditionally, organizations used servers to manage their daily operations. However, its limited capabilities and high operating costs and maintenance have necessitated organizations to consider serverless options. Serverless computing enables developers to create products on the cloud without worrying about server infrastructure. They can scale as they want and pay only for the capacity they utilize. This helps the organization manage the financial risks and accelerate the product development process. It also enables product developers to develop and deploy products in a cloud environment without any hassles.
4. Prioritize quality assurance
It’s no exaggeration to say that the quality of a single product can make or break the organization’s reputation. Typically, organizations equate quality assurance (QA) with bug discovery. The truth is QA goes beyond testing for bugs. It involves identifying the inconsistencies and vulnerabilities in the product and fixing them before launching the product. Most importantly, it ensures that the product is stable and secure and matches the users’ expectations. It must also pass through security checks to safeguard users’ data. Organizations must prioritize quality assurance and make it a part of every product development stage instead of keeping it at the end. Automated testing will enable the team to continuously test the product to identify risks and take pre-emptive measures to maintain the quality of the product and keep it secure.
Product development processes have changed significantly in the last few years. To keep pace with the rapid changes, organizations need to work with product development experts to help them develop their vision into a product. At Forgeahead, we offer an innovative Build-as-a-Service (BaaS) option. The aim behind offering BaaS is to help organizations with end-to-end execution – right from designing to maintaining their product quality. Our focus is to transform a customer’s vision into a product, even if that vision is nothing more than a single-line idea. Our team of expert developers, designers, and testers manage the complete execution so that the organization can focus on meeting its strategic goals.  Planning to convert your vision into a product? Let’s talk to know how we can support you in your endeavor. 

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