5 Mistakes Teams Make in Designing a New Product

Research shows that many product-engineering projects never produce a positive ROI — especially in startups and small companies. Why do some projects succeed and others not so much?  Here are the top five reasons:

  1. Not using experts: Sometimes, people confuse price per hour with value.  Price is what you pay, and value is what you get. If someone has never done a particular task, you are essentially paying them to learn how to do it.  Meanwhile, the expert will be done before the novice makes his first mistake. True, the expert will cost more per hour, but he will need a lot fewer hours to do it, and he will make fewer mistakes.
  2. Poor Risk Management: Every product development project has risk, and knowing how to identify the risk and how to manage this risk is essential to achieving an ROI.  See our White Paper here.
  3. Designing a Product when you should Design a MVP: Research shows that designing the wrong product (no product-market fit) is responsible for 60+% of all product development failures. Unless you have data to show that the product does have product market fit, design a Minimally Viable Product (MVP) and use it to find product market fit through a series of market validation experiments.
  4. Not Doing Requirements Analysis: It is surprising how many products never had a chance of creating a positive ROI simply because the conceptual design did not meet the requirements. Before launching a detailed design, do a requirements analysis. Good requirements template here.
  5. Not Taking Advantage of Reference Designs: In a small company, or startup, it is essential to keep development costs low as you do not have the scale to offset unit-cost-saving efforts. One way to do this is to use reference design. Most product development companies that specialize in developing products for small companies can provide these reference designs.
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