What is Product Engineering Life Cycle?

Sushmitha S Das

Technology disruption is the norm today. Product companies have to create superior-quality products at a fast pace to provide a top-notch experience to their customers and efficiently manage the operational costs and risks associated with them. Further, it goes without saying that creating an end-to-end software product is complex with a cycle of actions and decisions. 

As a result, technology product companies must have well-defined mechanisms in place to proactively respond to continuously evolving product lifecycle elements. For instance, shorter product development time or product version shelf life. And while doing so, they must also innovate their product portfolio, update technologies utilized, and, ideally, exceed customer expectations.

To thrive in this demanding and ever-changing environment, these companies need innovative product engineering solutions and services that span the entire product life cycle. Additionally, to stay on top, these services must offer a best-in-class user experience (UX) and leverage the conveniences the new technology provides. 

What is Product Engineering?

Product engineering handles all aspects of a product’s journey–from the initial innovation or strategy phase to the design, development, user acceptance testing, and maintenance and support. The emergence of new technologies and software delivery models has led to the evolution of product engineering services that move beyond traditional software engineering–services that cater to the unique techno-business landscape so products can excel. 

According to ReportLinker’s study, the increasing demand to accelerate a product’s time-to-market (TTM) is expected to drive the product engineering services market, $8 Billion in 2020, to reach a size of $1.4 Trillion by 2027. Additionally, the US market is estimated to reach $243.1 Billion.

This is quite telling in terms of what product companies must plan for. To compete in today’s market, many product companies now leverage the support of a strategic technology partner with Product Engineering Services.

The right strategic technology partner can help them engineer a product based on their vision and subsequently launch new product features to market with the speed, quality, and innovation required to remain competitive. 

The 6 Phases of Product Engineering

Let’s take a look at the different phases of the product engineering life cycle.

1. Strategy or Innovation

This is the initial stage of the product engineering life cycle where an idea is conceived, and the process of strategizing about how to transform it into a successful working product begins.

The idea is analyzed by subject matter experts and market researchers to determine whether it’s worth pursuing and what the risks involved could be.

In many instances, it’s best to leverage professional product innovation services for this.

Product innovation services help with:

  • Product ideation
  • Research
  • Conceptualization
  • Strategy

2. Requirement Analysis and Product Design

After the idea has been validated and decided upon, the next phase is to design the product in terms of its technical and functional architecture and user interface.

A vital part of this is to analyze the product’s requirements and run exercises to identify priority features or “must-have” versus “nice-to-have” features and weigh them from a value and productivity standpoint.

Product managers, designers, and technical architects play a key role in the design stages of a product’s evolution.

Product Design Services typically include:

  • Functional design
  • User interface and user experience design
  • Technical architecture
  • Use case definition
  • A roadmap

3. Product Development

The next phase pertains to developing the product. This requires core development skillsets and technical, managerial skills.

The development team looks to the Product managers/owners, designers, and architects to guide them in terms of what needs to be built out.

To overcome continuous disruptions in the fiercely competitive product engineering landscape, these companies must have ongoing software product development capabilities.

Development teams must employ proven methodologies and processes to ensure quality, as well as the timely delivery of the product.

Product companies can choose to hire a vendor who can help with product development services in various ways, some of which include:

  • End-to-end software product development
  • Extended offshore development center
  • Augmentation of a local team with IT staffing services

4. Product Testing / Quality Assurance (QA)

Quality Assurance activities are essential to create a great product and make it product-ready. In this phase, the product goes through stringent quality checks to validate that the developed product meets the design specs, and has high usability and UX quotient.

Product testing & QA services work similarly to the internal testing units of product organizations. They are worth exploring when there’s an increased need for QA activity and resources.

Some QA services that are typically offered by professional QA organizations include:

  • End-to-end testing
  • Test automation
  • Performance testing

5. Product Deployment Phase

Once the product is developed, it’s released into the market and monitored for user feedback and evolving market trends. Refinements or enhancements are then made to the product, and delivered to the market in subsequent releases.

Product companies should focus on continuous integration and delivery practices so that development teams can deliver code changes frequently and reliably. This contributes to the product having a favorable position in the market.

Depending on the type of product being offered, this phase could also involve product implementation for a client or customer onboarding services. Customization or extensions are then made to the product if required and applicable.

Some of the services that are offered to help product companies or ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) with this phase include:

  • ISV product implementation
  • Integration solution implementation
  • Training services

6. Product Support & Maintenance

Products that go to market must have support and maintenance services in place. This is required to address ongoing issues found in the product itself or with its implementation.

Support and maintenance in the product engineering life cycle could also include addressing customer queries and helping them troubleshoot services during their usage of the product.

Support and maintenance services to ISVs are typically provided in the form of:

  • Product support
  • Post-implementation support
  • Upgrades and enhancements
  • System monitoring and bug fixes
  • Application backups

Product engineering best practices

Following best practices during product engineering can save time and ensure a standard method is followed for the best possible outcomes. Ideal software product engineering practices provide benefits, including developing and maintaining reliable, efficient software systems with low maintenance costs and increased customer satisfaction. 

Here are a few product engineering best practices: 

Build and Iterate

Launch new features in iterations to measure and evaluate the impact. This helps to learn from technical obstacles and improve the product. Tip: Start with riskier and critical path items.

Measure what matters

Identify and measure the necessary metrics related to the product in order to optimize performance and lead to the desired outcome. For instance, operating costs and system-wide complexity.

Introduce design sprints

Design sprints and design workshops help bring teams together, brainstorm solutions to complex problems, and validate with real customers. 

Inclusive approach

Use the expertise of designers and developers in the team during the planning and development stages. Further, ensure to align with different departments such as sales, marketing, and customer support.

Keep code consistent

Having a consistent style guide for the codebase is crucial. A diligent and systematic approach makes functioning easier for the teams and the overall productivity of the process.

Benefits of product engineering services

The merits of partnering with a product engineering service provider include:

  • Quick prototyping and design
  • Customize products to meet customer requirements
  • Cut expenses and minimize resource utilization, 
  • Optimize their development process, 
  • Deliver the product on time as scheduled
  • Implement latest features well-ahead of competition
  • maintain their product portfolio, 
  • and meet/exceed customer expectations.
  • Professional approach with a focus on business goals

How to choose the right partner?

Now that we know the benefits of having a strategic partner, here are some tips for selecting the right partner. 

Credibility

Conduct a detailed background check to validate their experience working with similar organizations and their customer feedback/engagement efficiency.

Ability

In order to provide top-notch solutions and services, a vendor should be adept at software development. They should have relevant experience using various tools and methodologies vital for product development.

Expertise 

An expert team is foundational to building effective products and solutions. Find out the domain and technical knowledge of developers and testers working for the vendor. Many organizations now focus on enhancing the expertise of their employees through different courses and certifications.

Continuous support

Ensure that the vendor supports the project throughout the product engineering life cycle and completes it with maximum efficiency. Get continuous help on fixing issues, maintenance, and application backups. 

Experience

Another essential metric to understand the capabilities of a vendor and choose the right partner is to look at their partnerships and agnostic approach. Partnerships with leading organizations ensure that they have the right approach and knowledge to provide the best solutions aligned with the objectives.

A vendor should also comply with the mandatory industry regulations and policies. This ensures that the data sharing across systems is well protected. At BTC, we adhere to HIPAA, SOC2, GDPR, and 21 CFR Part 21, to name a few.

Conclusion

In today’s dynamic techno-business environment, product companies or ISVs must be future-ready. The right product engineering vendors can provide services to help companies transform your ideas into reality. Their expertise will play a crucial role in maximizing the potential of their products and outperforming competitors.

Boston Technology Corporation offers high-value, future-ready, end-to-end product engineering services, and flexible engagement models to meet your product needs. Specializing in the healthcare industry, we provide services to empower all stakeholders in the care continuum and healthcare research–users, patients, healthcare providers, and product companies. Contact us to learn how your organization can benefit from them.

Key Takeaways

  • Product engineering handles all aspects of a product’s journey–from the initial innovation or strategy phase to the design, development, user acceptance testing, and maintenance and support.

  • The right strategic technology partner can help companies engineer a product based on their vision and subsequently launch new product features to market with the speed, quality, and innovation required to remain competitive. 

  • The six different product engineering life cycle phases include strategy/innovation, requirement analysis and solution design, and product development.

  • The latter part comprises product testing/quality assurance (QA), product deployment phase, and support and maintenance.

  • Following best practices during product engineering can save time and ensure a standard practice is followed for the best possible outcomes.

  • To choose the right product engineering service partner, it’s essential to validate their credibility within the industry, ability to understand business needs and align solutions, and technical expertise to integrate new technologies.

  • They must also possess in-depth domain knowledge and comply with mandatory regulatory requirements within the industry.

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