IoT product management takes care of the “what” of an IoT project, such as what product features align with consumer demands, what makes a product attractive to potential users, or what makes using the product an enjoyable experience.
It involves multiple disciplines, and teams are generally composed of data researchers, market analysts, and project managers who ensure a smooth transition from project initiation, to product management lifecycle, all the way through to delivery.
Product development, on the other hand, is responsible for the “how” of an IoT project. It’s a segment of the bigger IoT product management umbrella and is typically composed of software engineers, UX designers, product testers, and QA specialists. Their roles are centered around creating a product that meets customer and market requirements, as well as the organization’s performance and quality standards.
Every stage of the product development and management process is crucial to launching a successful IoT project. Due to its complex nature, each stage has potential failure points. Here are some of the most common product development and management mistakes to watch out for:
5 Common IoT Product Management Mistakes
1. Making decisions based on insufficient data
According to a 2016 Cisco survey, only 26% of IoT projects can be considered a complete success. The majority, 60%, stall at the proof of concept stage. You can improve your chances of success by studying the market and obtaining enough data to deliver the best possible product to your customers.
2. Confusing necessary features with luxury features
Give customers exactly what they’re asking for. It will be tempting to throw in some add-ons or upgrades in the hope that they will find the product more attractive. But you can’t force them to buy something they don’t actually need.
3. Making everyone happy except the end user
A customer is generally the person buying an IoT product to fulfill a business need, not the end user who must integrate the product into their day-to-day activities. You should, therefore, have a thorough understanding of your user persona to create a product that end users will be happy about.
4. Going through the beta phase in a rush
Optimizing time-to-market is critical to success, but rushing the beta phase will do you more harm than good. You want a product that has been tested for every possible vulnerability. Launching as scheduled is laudable, but keep in mind that the true measure of IoT project success is end-user satisfaction.
5. Emphasizing innovation over value
Many organizations launch technology products not because they can solve problems better than existing products but simply because they can be created. Innovation for the sake of innovation is a mistake. Successful IoT products serve the needs of customers.
5 Common IoT Product Development Mistakes
1. Making a minimum viable product too minimal
The minimum viable product (MVP), a concept made popular by startup adviser Eric Ries, is a technique in which development teams create an initial product with just enough valuable features to benefit early adopters. The complete set of features are then developed based on user feedback. One common product development mistake is making the MVP too “minimum,” rendering it unusable.
2. Not asking for feedback
User feedback is what will help you craft an IoT product that users will actually use. Collect as much internal and external feedback, particularly from your target users and customers, so you don’t end up developing a product nobody wants.
3. Putting off testing until the final stages of development
Delaying high-level usability, circuitry, software, and mechanicals testing until the IoT product is largely “finished” is a common mistake that can result in serious time delays and added expense. A circuitry problem may require a change of components, which can take weeks. Switching to a bigger component for better sound quality, for example, may also entail changing the size of the enclosure, which can be expensive.
Testing early and at various stages of development ensures you’re building the product right.
4. Too many features
It’s easy to get excited about the different features that can make your device stand out. The problem with an IoT product having too many features, however, is you will likely overwhelm and confuse your users. Go back to what the data says. What exactly do your customers need? Focus on those.
5. Not ready for success
Are you ready if your product achieves market success? Will you be able to handle the number of new users or volume of customer support calls? Or will you crumble at the weight of it all?
How Dynamic Computer Corporation Can Help
Launching an IoT project is a huge undertaking. Avoid the costly mistakes many IoT companies have made by leveraging Dynamic’s industry expertise and partner network. We have been helping technology businesses with product development and management since 1979. Connect with one of our experts today to learn more.
Farida Ali is CEO and President of Dynamic Computer Corporation. She is an experienced executive with over 25 years of experience building and transforming Dynamic to be uniquely positioned as an expert technology solutions provider in highly regulated industries. Farida holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan, as well as a Juris Doctor degree and membership in the State Bar of Michigan. As a certified woman-owned business and a certified minority business enterprise, Dynamic has a strong focus on diversity and inclusion, with Farida spearheading this initiative.