Product development skills refer to the ability of an individual to modify and improve an existing product or formulate and introduce an entirely new product so that the new or additional benefits offered may satisfy a newly identified customer need or market niche.

Product development skills, therefore, include the ability to conceptualize, design, develop, and then commercialize or market the newly created or rebranded products/services. The sole purpose of doing all this is to increase and maintain the market share of a company by meeting the consumer demands in a better way.

Why is product development important

Since a substantial amount of resources are utilized in product development efforts with the risk of failure being quite high, many people tend to question the importance of product development. Following, however, are a few reasons that explain why product development is the life-blood of not only companies but societies as whole:

  • Increased value for customers. The new or increased value provided to customers is what keeps the company from wilting and eventually dying. If the value being offered is not increasing, then the company is always more likely to lose its ground to the competitors who offer overwhelming value.
  • Improved society and company performance. Modification of an existing product to create a better performing version with new features helps sustain a company by generating additional revenue. Such products may offer new and better value to customers but they hardly help in serving the society. However, developing entirely new products tend to improve the entire society sometimes. For instance, developing innovative new drugs to cure a certain disease and save plenty of lives.

How to improve product development skills

For improving your product development skills, following are some helpful guidelines:

  • Screen the new ideas. Many organizations and their product development managers tend to carry far too many ideas through the development cycle, wasting valuable resources and making it difficult to focus on the winners. Therefore, all ideas must be screened to choose the ones that are worth investing in and kill the rest immediately.
  • Involve customers early on. Get your customers involved in the product development cycle as early as possible. Not only will this make the concept of your product/service reality-proof but it will also facilitate the design phase by enabling you to understand the needs of the customers better and providing regular feedback regarding what they think of your product/service.
  • Focus on pricing. Improving the product development skills is not merely about improving concepts and design ideas. Rather, it involves focusing on commercialization as well. Pricing is one major issue that needs to be worked upon. Never make your product’s price exceed the value it provides to the customers because it makes all the resources and efforts go to waste, no matter how good the new or rebranded product is.
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