Managing Product Lifecycle

How should a non-development product’s product lifecycle be managed from conception to launch?

I’ve been told there is no feature building to be done.


Good question. Any product-based company would have to go through the product lifecycle. But I am a bit confused on your last line about no feature building, why would your boss not emphasize on the features of the product? Anyways, the product lifecycle for a non-development product typically involves the following stages:

  1. Ideation
  2. Concept Development
  3. Design and Development
  4. Testing and Validation
  5. Launch
  6. Post Launch

The key is to identify the target market, understand their needs, and be able to communicate the benefits of the product to that market. Also, it’s important to have a clear go-to-market strategy and product positioning.


Oh, Thanks for the reply @TinaGreist. I would appreciate if you could please brief about each stage of the lifecycle.

As far as the product features are concerned, I think that the features would be decided once the product is conceptualized and is ready to be built.


Okay understood. Well, here’s a brief explanation of the lifecycle stages!

  1. Ideation: This is the initial stage where ideas for the product are generated and evaluated. This stage often involves market research, customer feedback, and brainstorming sessions to come up with a viable product concept.

  2. Concept Development: This stage involves developing a detailed concept for the product, including features, target market, and pricing strategy. This stage also involves creating a business plan for the product.

  3. Design and Development: This stage involves creating detailed designs for the product and developing the necessary materials, such as packaging and marketing materials. This stage also includes testing the product to ensure it meets quality standards.

  4. Testing and Validation: This stage involves testing the product with a small group of customers to gather feedback and make any necessary adjustments. This stage also includes the validation of the product’s compliance with any relevant laws and regulations.

  5. Launch: This is the stage where the product is officially released to the market. This stage includes creating a launch plan and a marketing strategy to promote the product.

  6. Post-Launch: This is the stage where the product is monitored and evaluated. This stage includes tracking sales, gathering customer feedback, and making any necessary adjustments to the product or its marketing strategy.

Hope that helps.


I think it would be best to share my experience as a PM at a startup I am with. I’m looking to create a website which has ordering capabilities using the Square API. For now I’m just looking to create a simple React/bootstrap site and figure out how to approach the development process from a PM’s standpoint. My approach:

As a product manager, it’s important to first understand the requirements and goals of the website, as well as the target audience. This will help guide the development process and ensure that the end product meets the needs of the users.

Next, I’ll need to gather information about the Square API and determine how it can be integrated into the website. I’ll also need to consider how the ordering process will work and what user flow will be used.

I’ll also need to plan for testing and quality assurance. This includes creating test cases and determining how the website will be tested before it’s launched.

Finally, I’ll need to plan for the website’s launch and ongoing maintenance. This includes creating a plan for how the website will be marketed, as well as determining how any issues that arise will be handled.

Overall, communication between development team and product manager is crucial in ensuring a successful integration of square API and development process.


Great insight @BobbyDuncan. I am exactly in the same situation as you and am asked to work on the existing website, which right now does not have ordering feature. This will probably later be turned into a MERN or PERN project and I want to make sure I effectively roll out new features and keep all necessary stakeholders in the loop as the project grows. What would your approach to this be?


As the project grows and evolves into a MERN or PERN stack, it’s important to continue to prioritize user needs and goals, and to keep all stakeholders informed and updated on the progress of the project.

One way to effectively roll out new features is to use a phased approach, where new features are released in smaller batches rather than all at once. This allows for testing and user feedback to be gathered and incorporated before additional features are released.

Another important aspect is to have a clear and well-defined process for managing and prioritizing new feature requests, bug reports, and other feedback. This can be done through tools such as issue tracking software, or by creating a dedicated communication channel for stakeholders.

To keep all necessary stakeholders in the loop, it’s important to have regular meetings and updates, as well as to establish clear lines of communication. This can include regular check-ins with the development team, as well as providing stakeholders with access to a project management tool or other means of tracking progress.

It’s also important to have a plan in place for addressing and resolving any issues that may arise during the development process, and to have a clear process for testing and quality assurance.

Overall, effective communication and project management are key to ensure a smooth roll-out of new features, keeping all stakeholders informed, and maintaining a high-quality website as the project grows.


Wow! Thanks @BobbyDuncan for the detailed explanation. I believe our UX designer has a tool that’ll let him create a mockup and export the HTML/CSS from it for me to use and I’m thinking of keeping our PRDs and a style guide in a readme in the repo. Is there a better way for me to approach this or are there any tools I should be using to make this process easier? I’m planning on setting up some sort of CI/CD in case we end up bringing other devs on board and could use some input on when it’s appropriate to implement something like Scrum.


The approach you’ve described, using a UX designer’s tool to create mockups and export HTML/CSS, and keeping PRDs and a style guide in a readme in the repo, is a common and effective way to manage the development process.

Having a style guide can help ensure consistency in the design and user interface, and keeping PRDs in a readme allows for easy access and collaboration with the development team.

To make the process easier, there are a variety of tools and platforms available that can help with project management and collaboration. Some popular options include:

  • Asana, Trello, or Jira for task management and tracking progress
  • GitHub or GitLab for version control and code collaboration
  • Figma or InVision for prototyping and design collaboration

As for CI/CD, it’s a great idea to implement it as soon as you can. It helps to catch bugs early on and also makes it easy to deploy new features.

As far as Scrum, it’s an Agile methodology that’s used to manage software development projects. It’s a good idea to implement it when your team is ready to take on the responsibility and discipline of the daily Scrum meetings, Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective. It helps to increase the transparency of the project, and also make sure the team is aligned and on track with the goals and objectives of the project.

Overall, the key is to find the tools and methodologies that work best for your team and that help to make the development process as smooth and efficient as possible.


How do you do iterate? How will you get the customer? How are you doing testing of your hypothesis? How can you iterate, if you do not have users?


Iteration is the process of repeating a cycle of development, testing, and feedback in order to improve a product or service.

To iterate effectively, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the target audience and user needs, as well as a hypothesis about how the product or service will meet those needs. The development team can then build a minimum viable product (MVP) and test it with a small group of users.

There are various methods to gather feedback from users and customers, such as conducting user interviews, surveys, or usability testing. This feedback is then used to guide the next iteration of development, where improvements and new features are added based on the feedback received.

To get customers, you can try different methods like reaching out to potential customers, offering free trials, or using different marketing strategies.

Testing your hypothesis is important to validate the assumptions you made about your product or service. A/B testing is one of the most common method, where you test two different versions of a product or service with a small group of users, and then compare the results to see which version performed better.

If you don’t have users, you can still do research and gather feedback from potential users, through methods like surveys, market research, or focus groups, to understand the needs and pain points of your target audience. This information can then be used to guide the development of a MVP and the subsequent iterations.

It’s important to note that Iteration is a cyclic process, that helps you to keep learning and adapting your product, while you grow your user base.


The website is a storefront and our product/service isn’t quite ready for purchase yet so I’m pretty sure we haven’t put much effort into customer acquisition yet (gotta check with the CEO).

For now we’re just going to be doing internal design reviews to make changes. Maybe this would be considered more part of a single design iteration. We had participants come in for surveys to test market fit and tailor our offerings/aesthetic and I imagine we would do the same before we launch.

I’m guessing we’ll have some sort of review/survey system running periodically after the launch with either existing customers or a survey group but I could definitely use pointers there so I can steer it in a direction where we get actionable feedback and find a good balance of catering to our user base and attracting customers from different demographics. I’m vaguely familiar with google analytics, A/B testing and will try to leave a pipeline open for all that type of feedback that requires some code infrastructure to be built out.

The big problem for me now is doing a rough cost-benefit analysis on all of the “proper” tech and figuring out what gives us the most bang for our buck initially while still building a proper foundation for later development.

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Based on the approach you described you’re risking the following (which is super common in situations like yours):

  • you will focus on the tech stack;
  • while your stakeholder will focus on the design;
  • and the validation of the solution as well the user experience take a back seat.

My suggestion: keep the PRD as short as possible (or even better substitute with User Story Mapping) then start with a dynamic prototype (e.g. Axure RP) or maybe even better for your situation some low-code solution (that would even allow you to connect it with the API) and then put this in front of real users from your target group. Be creative in how you get them - offer them something, even money, and do as many iterations as possible. The end result will be much better.

TLDR: put more focus on product validation than selecting tools and processes for execution. DM me if this sounds interesting and you want furthermore specific feedback.

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I just looked into User Story Mapping and that looks like a useful approach, in our particular case I think it might leave a little ambiguity if it’s left as the final reference doc after our initial roadmap meeting. What do you think about doing some storyboarding/mapping in the meeting to help develop a short PRD?

The main reason I’m going with React/Bootstrap is because we tried doing a site for a different offering before (same team) using one of those graphical coding tools using webflow (looks similar to Axure RP) and the iteration process left a good bit to be desired. I rewrote the site using react/bootstrap and was able to get a responsive site that performed exactly how I wanted. The initial setup time was maybe a day more (didn’t start with a template) but the iteration process was much better and it was much easier for me to incorporate other elements (contact form).

I probably have been focusing more on the tech than the validation for this phase where I’m doing research/prep for the roadmap and will make sure to focus heavily on user testing/validation.

With all that being said do you have any pointers on how to iterate effectively? I’m guessing we’ll get some actionable and some not-actionable feedback from the users during surveys and am wondering if I should create a PRD for each design phase, only update the initial PRD to reflect recent insights or create a User Story Mapping after the MVP is finished and use that to create new feature/bug tickets.

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If you’re more comfortable and can be fast with react then by all means that’s the way to go.

My advice re PRD (specs) would be to clearly articulate what problem you’re solving and define a quantitative metric for it if possible (check this then after every iteration). What are the outcomes you want to achieve rather than features you want to deliver. In my experience this works best when you have a list of prioritized items (us map, backlog, kan ban… whatever works best for you) and you keep it up to date as you go through iterations with highest priority stuff on the top.

Try to do interviews in addition to surveys. Give them a task and observe how they use it. Whatever format that gives you one to one time with users you find working best in your situation do as much of it as you can. Keep your designer involved as much as possible.

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Thanks for the advice, that “focus on the problem(s)” and find a way to measure success approach makes a lot of sense.

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