Friday, August 31, 2007

Product Development vs Software Development

In software business, a lot of people use the term product development and software development synonymously. However, IMHO, I think it is two distinct discipline or job.

Software development mainly consist of major phases and activities such as understanding requirements, software design and architecture, coding, testing, QA and other engineering practices such as performance and technical benchmarking.

However, in software business, simply developing and shipping software is not enough to keep the company going. The company needs not just to develop the software, but to develop a product.

Product development include activities such as analyzing market trends and customer need, crafting a product vision of what you want to deliver and how you differentiate from your competitors, creating market awareness and communicating your vision to your customers, develop a strategy to capture and fulfill the market need, platform to deliver the product and of course shipping the product just in time to capture the market.

Once you have the software piece ready to ship, you also need to make sure you have the necessary infrastructure to support your software, for example training your customer support personnel, documentation, maintenance release, and channel for customer to provide feedback and so on.

Then, you need a plan to nurture the product. This includes branding; strengthen the customer relationship, making the product more mature by fixing short coming and incorporating customer feedback and so on.

All these are part of the product development activities.

To sum up, I would like to use the following diagram to illustrate my point:

Product Development vs Software Development

Click to view in full size.



Post a Comment

<< Home