Silicon Valley Business School
Develop a Winning Product
Milestones in the Product Development Process

Product development is outside the scope of the educational courses and materials offered by Silicon Valley Business School, but we integrate these milestones in the startup process so that they can be incorporated into the planning process for startup entrepreneurs who are looking to use our materials to plot out and prioritize milestones for their ventures.

You will see that each of the milestones has completion criteria that can be used to help determine when the milestone has been achieved.

Although these milestones will be familiar to developers of software applications, including websites and other forms of software-related content, the milestones can also apply to other types of products. Of course, some products, such as drugs and medical devices, require special approvals, like FDA approval, and certain types of testing, and you may need to customize the milestones relevant to your startup venture.

Taking a product from prototype to final release requires several stages of development, testing and quality control. Each step toward product release should involve more extensive and thorough testing to ensure that the product is functioning and fits the customer needs.
Product Development Milestones:
  • Develop Product Prototype
  • Develop Product: Produce Internal Alpha Version
  • Develop Product: Produce External Alpha Version
  • Develop Product: Produce Internal Beta Version
  • Develop Product: Produce Preview Version
  • Develop Product: Release Beta Version
  • Develop Product: Produce Limited Release Version
  • Product: Final Release
    Clearly, a winning product is an essential component of a successful venture, and leading companies, such as Apple, pay a great deal of attention to product design, details and quality control.

    Build a Product Prototype

    The key to building a good promotional prototype is that it has to look good, even if the beauty is only skin deep. A glossy front-end with fancy graphics and presentation make a huge difference. The underlying engine of the technology you’re demonstrating can be simulated—behind the scenes use smoke, mirrors, trick photography, duct tape, string, whatever it takes to make it look like it’s working.

    Bill Gates dies and meets St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter asks him whether he’d like to go to Heaven or Hell. Naturally, Bill says ‘well I was thinking of Heaven’. St. Peter says ‘I ask because some people do prefer Hell. You don’t have to decide now—would you like to take a tour first and then give me your decision?’ Bill figures he has nothing to lose and heads off on his tour of Heaven. When he gets there he finds it extremely dull—just a few monks and nuns reading bibles and not much else going on. Next stop is the tour of Hell. On arrival, he’s amazed to find that it’s a fun, friendly place with lots of bright young people singing, dancing and generally having fun. He checks it out as best he can and it seems like a pretty cool place—certainly more interesting than Heaven. So, when he has his audience with St. Peter he tells him what he found there and chooses Hell instead of Heaven.

    Immediately he’s transported to Hell. But when he arrives there he finds that it’s not at all the same. He gingerly opens a huge door and he’s astonished at what he finds—fire, brimstone, blood curdling screams, everything you’d expect from Hell. Standing at the door, mouth aghast, he sees the Devil wandering towards him. Bill stops him and says ‘I don’t understand—I was here a few minutes ago and it was fun and friendly, now it’s totally different’. With a sinister smile, the Devil says ‘Oh you mean you saw our demo—this is the shipping product!’

    Bill Gates knows, as well as anyone, that customers, investors and normal people can be fooled by a cool demo. Behind the scenes the whole demo can be simulated with smoke and mirrors, but if you pull it off, even the smartest people can be fooled into thinking that you have a hot product.

    Unfortunately, most people have no vision whatsoever and they can’t visualize your product until they see it. A prototype can be a valuable tool to sell your dream to investors, customers, journalists and new hires.

    SVBS Learning Materials Related to this Maneuver ~ From SVBS Online Courses
    At this time, SVBS is focused on business education, which includes legal aspects of business, but does not include detailed aspects of product engineering.