How to build a product development strategy

A Product Development Strategy (PDS) is a well-thought-out and structured approach that helps you to manage your product planning, product release, and pricing. It aids your end-to-end development including product ideation, marketing, and lifecycle management. A highly structured PDS is a must to remain competitive, optimize revenue, and release customer-centered products.

Your PDS often works hand-in-hand with your Product Strategy to ensure the success and relevance of your product in a particular market, or price point, or to check that it is in line with your company’s brand image. 

A Product Development Strategy is therefore more comprehensive than your Product Strategy. In addition to focusing on the innovation and development of new products or services, your PDS should also:

  • Ensure your direction: Are you an innovator, a market disruptor, or a low-cost competitor 
  • Establish your product portfolio and assess associated risks and your market position
  • Ignite corporate vision: Help you connect your product strategy with budgets and internal logistics
  • Engage investors and company boards by aligning governance rights, funding, and processes for new strategy development

What To Account For

  • Your customer. Any effective PSD begins by understanding the needs of your customer, and their demands, and by charting any changes in their purchasing habits. A good PSD must look ahead and predict the customer’s reaction at the time of product commercialization. Being in touch with your customer will provide insight that can help you build trust and transparency into your brand identity.
  • A detailed framework. To build a PSD you need a visual roadmap that provides your company with strategic goals to meet your desired result. Your roadmap must be available to all employees to ensure that everyone is on the same page. By having your roadmap as a visible living document, it can be more readily adapted to unexpected changes while promoting transparency and agility across teams and corporate divisions. 

  • Your execution: A good product at the wrong time is a bad product. Being realistic with your development goals and expected release will only help you to make the most of the market situation you accounted for. Your PDS might define the speed of delivery as a tactical strategy, but if it comes at the compromise of quality or usability it will be overshadowed by your market competitors. 

  • The right resources and platforms. Given that your PDS is cyclical, following each of your products throughout their lifespan, it is important to pin down scalability early on. All of your strategic work should be supported by integrated solutions that help your teams work effectively and efficiently while ensuring future scalability. These include sophisticated management platforms that can account for dependencies and other changing variables 

How to Begin

In our article on developing a killer product strategy, we narrowed the starting threshold down to three key things: a vision, goals, and initiatives. The reality is that these play an equally important role in building a solid PDS. Let us consider how these three can guide you.


A vision provides the perfect starting point. It gives you the space to think holistically about your idea, your product, the implementation, and its effect on your company. How can your next product be a springboard for developing your employees, increasing profit, or moving your company into new markets? A vision is great because it ties ideas to a strategy. 



Similarly, your goals help you to mobilize your plan into action, by realizing it through incremental steps tethered to your strategy. It all goes back to the roadmap we discussed earlier. Teams stretching from product development to financial and human resources can work together to prioritize changes that put the company on track to achieve its next goal.


Your initiatives are the concentrated efforts you take to achieve your specific goals. Initiatives for your PDS can be wide-ranging, with a focus not only on product development and investment, but also on employer education, and research and development. It's important to keep in mind that Initiatives should be tailored to those that will best suit the longevity of your business and product.

Types of Approaches 

As examined earlier, A PDS should consider a large variety of business operations when planning for the development and launch of a new product. Various PDS approaches offer different value propositions or areas of focus to customers, businesses, or the market. 

Time-based approach: This key focus of this strategy is on tailoring when your new product becomes available to the market. Does it lead as an innovator or follow as a competitor during a rapid release of similar products? 

Market-oriented approach: This development strategy places emphasis on knowing your market and developing products and targeting their release to stress their technological or market innovation when compared to other available products. 

Platform-based approach: Here, a platform is a collection of characteristics or qualities that are shared by a set of products. These are used to create alternative lines within the same brand family. For example, a cookware company may release a high, mid, and low-cost cookware line derived from the same family. These families share characteristics unique to the brand but are separated in respect to their cost, features, and performance. 

Customer-oriented approach: This approach places value on the internal processes that deliver customers with products that meet or exceed their needs. A customer-oriented approach is often supported by care policies that support the customer’s needs at every phase of their customer life cycle.

Why It is So Crucial to Get Your PDS Right

The market has seen unprecedented changes in recent years which have pushed technological changes further while altering customer habits and expectations. The need to stay competitive requires well-optimized business solutions that promote economic growth, scalability, and innovation. 

These are all affected by your PDS. which aims to centralize development under a key strategy to guide investment, performance, and adaption. 

Initiating an effective PDS early on can help ensure profitability while building your reputation and your brand legacy.