In our previous episode, we have discussed how starting out with a minimum viable product is a useful technique for product development teams. This is the last episode in our product development series, in which we will discuss some useful tools for product development.
Product Development Tools
Product development is a process which is divided into multiple stages. There are hundreds of tools (if not thousands) available in the market for each stage (phase) of product development.
For example, during idea initiation or idea screening, a product development team usually performs market research. For that, they can use different tools like App Annie, and Survey Monkey. Similarly, we have tools for design, coding, project management and time tracking.
We will be discussing following tools:
- Survey Monkey
- Pivotal Tracker
Market segmentation is an important task in market research, which is used to divide a large target market into small subset of customers, countries, businesses with common needs, interests and priorities. Then we try to collect their responses about a particular idea, in our case, an app. Now, whether you are developing a minimum viable product or a fully functional app, you need to perform market segmentation to get a clear picture of the target audience for your app.
Survey Monkey is a wonderful tool to get you started. A product development team can use surveys to investigate an app’s idea in their preferred target audience. Even if you don’t have a list of customers, early adopters, or a group of social followers, you can use Survey Monkey’s Audience to test your app idea. You can tweak your preferences as per your needs, for example, you can set your market segmentations according to Geographic, Demographic, Behavioral, and Psychographic segments.
A beautiful and aesthetically pleasing design can make a world of difference as first impressions are extremely important. Whether we are creating a prototype, mockup, wireframe, or an app’s UX and UI, we need a powerful tool to transform our ideas into beautiful and engaging designs.
Sketch is a tool which is quickly gaining popularity among web and mobile app designers. It can be used for designing almost anything. You can design an app’s icon, create a wireframe, design a mockup, and create a powerful UI or UX for any web or mobile app.
Sketch is being preferred by many designers over Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator due to its ability to become a complete package for entire design process, not to mention a far cheaper price tag. Whether it is illustration, wireframes, or pixel-perfect mockups, you can do it easily and swiftly. Photoshop was largely initially built as a photo editor while Sketch has been built from the ground-up with web and app design as its core focus.
Modern day app development companies use Git as their first preference of distributed revision control system. A distributed revision control system offers multiple developers to work on a given project without requiring them to share a common network. Git puts emphasis on speed, data integrity, and support for distributed, non-linear workflows. We have discussed Git in detail in one of our blog posts earlier, you can read it here.
Basecamp is a project management tool, which helps in organizing both internal team projects, as well as client projects. Basecamp uses a simple and clutter-free visual interface to help team members manage their shared and personal projects and tasks. Basecamp’s offers an overview of all your chats, to-dos list, files, text documents and events on its dashboard.
A project manager can allow or restrict permissions and views for project items, as well as entire projects. This allows them to share particular items with clients, while keeping other items private for sharing among their teammates. Permissions and views in Basecamp mean you can choose which team mates and clients to collaborate with.
Slack is currently one of the most popular collaboration tools among modern day app development companies for internal communications. It offers a unique searchable history which keeps everything within your reach. Whether it is an instruction in chat about a product’s design or a shared document within a channel, you can easily search it within minutes. A product development team can create department wise channels to share and discuss a project’s growth with respective department. Moreover, a team can create an internal group to discuss ideas, feedback and thoughts within a team. A user can easily share files with individuals, channels, and groups. At Cygnis Media, we are using Slack these days and we love it.
In agile development, task assigning and task prioritization are integral part of iteration. Pivotal Tracker is a wonderful tool to help a product development team in this regard. The idea is to break an idea into bite-sized stories and use points to estimate each story’s complexity to prioritize it in the backlog. It tracks your progress while you code the next story in line and display your project’s progress on a simple and clean user interface. The feedback-loop is critical for the growth of a product and this tool helps shorten that feedback-loop to enhance sprint planning and productivity.
So, we are finally here, the last episode in our product development series. During this journey, we have overviewed a simple product development method (Scrum), how an app development company approaches product planning, Minimum Viable Products, and some useful tools for product development. It was a wonderful learning curve for us and we hope you have learned something out of it as well. Please feel free to share your thoughts on our official Twitter or Facebook accounts.