While the phrase Product Engineering has been in the industry for quite some time now, for the IT industry it has picked up pace for the past decade and a half or so. Why so? Because in the recent past several billion-dollar enterprises have come into existence because of their IT products.
Well, can you think of a few names of some of the most successful IT products?
Google, Amazon, Uber, Netflix, and so on.
So what actually is Product Engineering and what are the several steps involved in it?
A not so abstract definition would be – “Product Engineering is about the processes and methodologies that manage the entire lifecycle of a product, that is, from the inception of an idea to the development, deployment, and final product journey. At its core, it believes in doing user-centric development.
User-Centric development empathises heavily with the end customers while laying down the technical architecture, creating the UX wireframes, and the UI, and even the testing of the product.
Now let us have a look at the typical cycle that a product goes through –
- The Idea stage – The entrepreneur ( or would be ) comes up with an idea. He/She feels that the idea could solve some existing problems and there would be customers willing to use his end product. Over time he refines the idea in his head, by doing some research to understand the competition if any.
- The Design Stage – At this point, after conducting detailed research around the idea, either a business analyst or the entrepreneur himself creates the mockup wireframes. Along with it, a detailed product roadmap is also prepared. This will help the solution architect have a clear vision around all the complexity of the idea. Using this, the technical team would be able to provide a clear timeline for each feature. This would help you to plan and position the product well.
- The Development Stage – If the output of the design stage is good, then the development of the product does not bring up any major challenge, assuming that you have deployed seasoned resources on your team. The development is carried out in sprints, whose duration is decided by the project manager. After each sprint the output is thoroughly tested and bugs are fixed in the upcoming development sprint.
- Test the Product Stage – At this stage, the testing team executes the test cases several times on the product. Bug fixing is carried out by the development team in small sprints. From API testing, User acceptability testing to security testing, several tests are carried out on the product to ensure its robustness.
- Launch and Reiterate – The much-awaited moment has arrived. The product is now shared with the end-users. Based on the response from the users, the product roadmap is tweaked and relevant feedback is incorporated in the upcoming sprints of the product.
The demand for product engineering skills is growing tremendously. As the technologies evolve, entrepreneurs are being much better equipped at solving real world problems. Their solution then goes to the product engineering path.
Let us know if you are looking to engineer your idea into a great product.