5 Things You Need To Consider Before & During Remote Product Development

Times have changed, there’s no question about it.

With the shift towards remote work becoming increasingly common in many industries, it’s important to know how and when to incorporate remote teams into your business.

Whether your team is already working remotely, or you continue to make use of communal office space, remote product development can be a great, cost-effective option.

What is remote product development?

Remote product development is a process that allows you to have a product developed outside your business’s physical location.

Not only do digital tools and technology make it easy to conduct this work remotely, but they also enable you to connect with product development specialists from around the globe.

According to ProductPlan’s 2021 State of Product Management Report, the desirability and willingness to work remotely, along with the growth of remote companies in the United States, has grown by 2.8%.

Of the 2,200 product managers that were surveyed, 67% chose to work remotely across all company sizes.

This growing interest in remote work has prompted many companies to expand their professional relationships, to increase the impact of the products they offer.

Why hire a team to do remote product development?

Currently, most companies are looking for technology partners who can elevate them and add value to their organization.

This mindset is a drastic shift away from the traditional business objectives of outsourcing that used to focus on productivity and cost-effectiveness.

The Global Outsourcing Survey conducted by Deloitte found that outsourcing is getting transformed by disruptive technologies like cloud and automation.

Businesses can no longer focus solely on cutting down costs as much as possible.

Instead, they need to consider the innovation, speed to market, enhanced user experience, and improved performance that remote product development companies offer.

If you hope to gain a competitive edge, it’s essential to factor in these different indicators of elevation for your business.

According to the survey, 70% of its respondents believe their service providers have a reasonable or advanced ability to implement disruptive solutions.

Where do you go from here?

Are you looking to hire a team to do remote product development but don’t know where to begin?

Then you’ve come to the right place!

We have put together a list of some of the top things you should consider both before and during remote product development.

Stay ahead of the competition with these tips.

Identify the Pain Problem

Source: WordStream

What are you trying to solve for your potential customers?

Are you aiming to help them save time on a specific task?

Looking to add value to a service they already subscribe to?

Or perhaps improving upon an existing solution?

Whatever your objective may be, it’s important to start by knowing the type of problem your potential customers need to be solved.

A pain point is any specific problem your prospective customers are experiencing. These can include:

Conducting qualitative research, such as customer surveys or open table discussions, are the easiest way to identify which pain points apply to your customer base.

Once you identify the pain point they are facing, it becomes exponentially easier to develop a product that resolves the issue.

Solving pain points through remote product development

Not only will identifying pain points help you down the line when trying to market your product, but it also improves the remote product development process.

Knowing exactly what problem you are aiming to solve helps inform the overall vision, functionality, purpose and design for a potential product.

Being able to convey this information clearly, and directly to your remote product development team is essential to their overall success.

Once the team understands which customer needs have to be resolved, they can focus their time and expertise on embedding those solutions into every stage of the remote product development.

Layout a Solid Business Plan

As Steve Jobs famously noted,

“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”

To successfully develop a new product, you need to understand how to adapt to changing customer needs and then sell your product as the solution.

The only way to combat changing consumer beliefs and preferences is by embedding the voice of your potential customers into the product development process.

An analysis conducted by McKinsey, found companies that invest in innovation during a crisis outperform the competition on market capitalization by 10%; investing in innovation after a crisis gives them a 30% advantage.

In addition, it found only 6% of CEOs indicate they are satisfied with their company’s innovation efforts.

The root cause being insufficient budgets, anemic resource allocations, and misaligned success metrics.

Companies also often choose to follow traditional, siloed approaches that create blind spots, handoff issues and inefficiencies.

All of these scenarios have a significant impact on product revenue, profitability and ROI.

Having a clear business plan laid out for your product will not only ensure it reaches the full innovation potential but will also make it easier to align each member of the remote development team with your objectives.

Allocate Development and Marketing Budget

How are development budgets changing?

A study in 2019 by Gartner reported that marketing leaders planned to spend 26% of their budget on marketing technology in 2020 (down from 29% in 2019), making it the single largest area of investment for marketers, followed by labour, agencies, and paid media.

There have also been changes seen in the allocation of budgets to hire more qualified team members.

In the report ‘Product Management Hiring Trends in the US — 2019’, it was determined that the demand for high-level product managers has increased by 51% in the past two years.

Image Source: medium.com

The February 2020 CMO survey indicated that marketing budgets were expected to grow by 7.6% in the next year, reflecting a slight dip in growth but remaining on an upward trajectory.

In addition, companies had adjusted their investment in customer experience to 16.7% of the marketing budget, up from 15.2% in the February 2020 survey.

Marketers expected the number to grow to 20.6% in the next year.

What does this mean for your budget allocation?

While it is important to reserve a portion of your budget for marketing, you also need to consider investing in the product development process itself.

There should be a balance between allocating funds to developing your product and selling it to potential consumers.

If the product does not meet the demands of your customers, then any marketing efforts you put in will be ineffective.

A product that is well designed will be easier to promote down the line.

Be sure to discuss your budget with the team ahead of time, and be clear on how much you can spend on each stage of the development process.

Managing the Cost of Product Development

Knowing how to estimate product development costs upfront can help you get a good idea of the feasibility of your overall project.

When you’re trying to understand the costs of your design, it helps to look at them in stages, modelled after the various funding rounds in the investment cycle.

Even if you’re not considering venture capital financing, it still helps you to break down your budget into smaller, more digestible stages.

The cost of product development alone can usually cost between $100,000 and $250,000 depending on the scale of the project.

Breaking down your expenses into each investment stage will help better prepare you to fund your project without any unforeseen expenses.

Investment stages act as an excellent guide if you’re concerned about how to estimate product development costs.

Carefully Choose An In-House or Product Development Agency

Remote development teams are an excellent option if you’re looking to develop an innovative product.

Operating almost like a technology service provider, these remote teams give you access to experts from around the world whose innovative lab approach is aimed at elevating your business’ experience, and overall objectives.

If you are looking to recruit the best talent at a minimal cost, then working with a remote product development agency is a great option.

Keeping in mind there are some things to consider before choosing which agency is the right fit for your business, or product idea, including geography, language and time differences.

Choosing the right resources

Before choosing which product development agency you want to work with, it’s important to have an understanding of what you’re looking for.

Discuss internally with your existing team the specific skills and talents you require for this particular product.

Gather a list of the different resources you will need by consulting with your team then select the remote development agency that aligns best.

You can narrow down the decision-making process by considering the agency’s geography, expertise and previous work.

Make sure communication channels are open and secure

While choosing the right remote product development agency for your business, you must understand their communication channels and whether it ensures security and transparency.

When working with your remote team, make sure the product’s development is defined as clearly as possible.

A detailed description of the project’s expectations and your vision needs to be conveyed from the beginning to create a unified approach.

It can be difficult to create a sense of teamwork when working remotely, but effectively communicating your vision and set requirements for the team will make it easier.

The right tools and methodologies

Using the right tools for your product’s development is crucial for long-term success.

Cloud-based tools are much more efficient while choosing collaboration tools.

The agile methodology works best for remote product development-based projects. It ensures transparency, agility and efficiency in product development.

Time management

Assign defined timelines for completing the multiple sprints in the project.

Then make sure the team can adhere to it, having a plan in place if they are not met.

It is ideal to break down the product’s development into clear goals or sprints on a weekly or biweekly basis.

Synchronized workflow

Ensuring the whole team is working at a similar, consistent pace will not only improve productivity but also help elevate team morale.

Consider utilizing team-building processes such as rewarding team members for better performance and innovative insights, to create a positive work experience.

Allow yourself and the team to be flexible while encouraging innovation.

Workflow and processes do not need to be rigid as they can impede creativity.

Track the Project Success By

Weekly Check-ins

  • Schedule them at the beginning (Example: Every Monday at noon, Friday at 4 pm)
  • Be consistent with deadlines
  • Be clear on who reports to who, and which departments need to be involved

Track Project Velocity

  • Maintain clear projections for overall product outlook
  • Create set timelines, with budgeted time for delays or setbacks

Code Quality / Sonar Cloud

  • Constantly check and review the quality/functionality of your code
  • Tools such as SonarCloud are designed to find errors in coding automatically

Regular Pull Requests

Pull requests are a feature that makes it easier for developers to collaborate.

They provide a user-friendly web interface for discussing proposed changes before integrating them into the official project. In their simplest form, pull requests are a mechanism for a developer to notify team members that they have completed a feature.

Once their feature branch is ready, the developer files a pull request.

Weekly Beta Builds

On a set schedule, have the team build weekly beta tests to determine how the product runs so far and if there are any existing problems or bugs that were missed in the previous testing

Ask the Team to Implement Unit Testing Unit testing

Unit Testing is a type of software testing where individual units or components of the software are tested.

The purpose is to validate that each unit of the software code performs as expected.

Unit Testing is done during the development (coding phase) of an application by the developers.

Unit Tests isolate a section of code and verify its correctness.

A unit may be an individual function, method, procedure, module or object.

What happens next?

You are ready to choose a remote product development agency you want to work with.

You’ve taken the time to consider everything from customer needs to budget allocation.

The only thing left is to decide where to start.

At Markovate we offer a Four-Phase Approach to product development that is designed to help your business get the best results possible.

It doesn’t matter where you are in the remote product development process, our team can provide you with expertise in MVP planning, product ideation, and design, as well as overall remote product development.

As a leading remote Product Development Agency, we provide the expertise needed to make your product stand out in the digital market.

Reach out to us today to discuss which customizable solution is best for supporting your current business needs.

Originally published at https://labs.markovate.com.

Markovate is a growth focused digtal product and mobile app development company based out of Toronto.