The following article is part of the self-preparation for the modern BVOP® Product Management Certification program.
Product development practices in the context of BVOP are focused on crafting concepts, designing prototypes, testing results, creating artifacts and final usable end-results.
- Creating concepts
- Concepts validation by users with product knowledge
- Creating functional prototypes
- Prototype testing by users with product knowledge
- Creating a usable end result
- End-result testing by users with product knowledge
Whatever practices are used for product development, the BVOPDM office needs to implement practices that ensure valid and actual end-results. Recommended steps include:
- Creating concepts.
- Validation of the concepts by users with product knowledge.
- Creation of functional prototypes.
- Users with product knowledge testing the prototypes.
- Creation of a usable end-result.
- Users with product knowledge testing the end-result*.
Users with product knowledge may be considered:
- Real users already using or intending to use the product or using a similar product
- Potential users
- Representatives with extensive product knowledge
*End-result: feature, part of a product, module or current version
The concept in the context of the BVOP is not a functional prototype or any other piece of work that requires extensive time or resource consumption. Concepts may be drawings, videos, sketches, paper prototypes, wireframes, charts, explanatory text materials, or any other materials that can present an early idea and vision about the future product or parts of the product.
The sources for the creation of the concepts are the product vision, the previously gathered information from internal organizational assets and external third parties or other users and sources with product and market knowledge.
Concepts have to be created fast to avoid time wastes and their ideas have to be presented clearly.
They present realistic user needs, solutions, and values.
Concepts validation by users with product knowledge
After a concept is created, a validation process needs to confirm its value and authenticity or reject it.
Users with product knowledge evaluate the concept during a validation session. Users point out the weak and strong features.
Validation session requires the participation of more than one individual because rejecting or accepting the concept is a group process.
If a concept is fully rejected, a new concept, presenting a clear idea, should be created as soon as possible.
If a concept has some value, its positives are documented, and the following concepts are based on them.
Creating functional prototypes
After a concept is validated and approved, creating a functional prototype may provide a more valuable and precise vision of the end product or some of its features.
A functional prototype in the context of the BVOP is the result of a concept, which has been validated, accepted and includes a more realistic presentation of the product. It may be a physical model or very early-stage version of a software or other digital product.
The product features are usually only visually presented, simulated where applicable, or implemented at some working level with minimum efficiency and quality.
Prototype testing by users with product knowledge
Testing the prototypes ensures a level of confidence in the future development. After a functional prototype is built on some satisfactory level, it should be validated against the real user needs, experience, expectations, and usability issues.
Users with product knowledge test the functional prototype, and their feedback is recorded for future use in the prototype improvements and development.
Testing the prototypes for usability issues may be conducted with any popular user testing protocol, such as “Cognitive walkthrough”, “Think-aloud protocol”, “Wizard of Oz”, or any other suitable method.
Modifications, combinations, and creating custom testing protocols are also recommended.
After the test sessions, some issues are usually documented, and improvements on the prototype may be implemented.
Creating a usable end result
After the prototype is validated and agreed upon as satisfactory, the teams develop the real product or parts of it. At this stage, all the product concepts and prototypes are evaluated as accurate and reliable. The product development continues to the end-goals.
This stage is usually the longest and requires massive amounts of time, resources, communications, a collaboration between many teams inside the organization.
End-result testing by users with product knowledge
Just like the prototypes, the end-result needs to be tested regularly against real user needs, experience, expectations, and usability issues.
A test and validation session after every major update of the end-result prove that the product is being developed according to the precise needs and business direction.
It is good practice to create and maintain a brief record during product development that can help with all testing and validation in the future.
When the end-result is released, and it is in a real-world environment, it is strongly recommended to track, record and analyze the behaviour of a large number of real users.
The following issues related to chapter "Product development practices" are included in the certification exam. The sequence of questions is presented in the table.
The data is current as of May 27, 2023, 1:42 am
|0||Concepts validation by users with product knowledge||60 sec||PDM, PM|
|1||Creating a usable end result||60 sec||PDM, PM|
|2||End-result testing by users with product knowledge||60 sec||PDM, PM|
|3||Creating functional prototypes||60 sec||PDM, PM|
|4||Prototype testing by users with product knowledge||60 sec||PDM, PM|
|5||Creating concepts||60 sec||PDM, PM|
Comments from the BVOP™ community on “Product development practices”
BVOP product development focuses on concept creation, prototyping, testing, artifact creation, and delivering usable end-results.
BVOPDM office must implement effective practices for product development to ensure valid and actual end-results. These practices include creating concepts, validating them through users with product knowledge, creating functional prototypes, testing them with users with product knowledge, creating a usable end-result, and testing it with users with product knowledge. Users with product knowledge can be real users, potential users, or representatives with extensive product knowledge. The end-result can refer to a feature, part of a product, module, or current version.
Concepts in BVOP are early ideas and visions for a product, presented through various materials like drawings, videos, sketches, and explanatory texts. They are created quickly using information from organizational assets and external sources with product and market knowledge. Concepts must be clear and present realistic user needs, solutions, and values.
Users with product knowledge validate concepts by evaluating their strengths and weaknesses in a group session. If a concept is rejected, a new one should be created quickly. If a concept has value, its positives are documented and used for future concepts.
Creating a functional prototype is important after validating and approving a concept. It provides a more precise vision of the end product or some of its features. A functional prototype in BVOP is the validated and accepted result of a concept, presented realistically. It can be a physical model or an early-stage version of a software or digital product. The product features are usually visually presented, simulated, or implemented at a minimum level of efficiency and quality.
Prototype testing by users with product knowledge is important to ensure confidence in future development. Usability issues can be tested with various protocols, and modifications are recommended. Once the prototype is validated, the real product is developed with evaluation and collaboration between teams. End-result testing is crucial to ensure the product meets user needs and expectations. A record should be maintained for future testing and validation. Real-world user behavior should also be tracked and analyzed.
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Recently, I became acquainted with Lean concepts and Agile ideas, product development, and many modern views. I have read a lot about the Scrum framework, which mentions that it can be applied to all products and activities. I thought carefully and felt that these statements were not entirely true. Your Agile teachings are also beautiful and attractive. However, how can industry and industry, such as banking, follow these principles and trends?
It's great that usability is a topic in the BVOP Ultimate Guide. Today, few people know exactly what this is. The simplest explanation of what usability is is how convenient it is for the user to use a product. Is it easy to navigate the user in the interface? If we analyze a simple physical product of our daily life we will notice that it has a very good level of usability. However, if we study a common modern professional-oriented software, we will notice a huge number of possibilities for errors. However, the more complex a product is, the more opportunities for errors or inconveniences we will experience. There are various methods and techniques for measuring the usability of products. Many of them are expensive and a small part of the companies have the opportunity to allocate resources for their purchase. Let's give an example with the machine that measures our eyes and the micro facial expressions of our face. However, those who have such an opportunity report quite good results. Thanks to these techniques, you can see the possible inconveniences of using a product and change it in its infancy. If you start measuring the usability of your products you will have to invest a significant resource. However, the costs will be recouped quickly. You will start to generate bigger profits over time. If you don't create high-yield products, seemingly nothing negative will happen. In the long run, however, your products may stop meeting the needs of your customers or become too complex for them.
If your customers use your products and at the same time this gives them a positive experience, then you, as the creator, have met the set goals and objectives. But to achieve high usability of a given product, proper analysis, and necessary changes should be done at an earlier stage. And to handle analysis and change, your Agile organization should also implement and practice usability testing and any other product practices. When conducting such types of tests, you get information directly from the users. There are various and numerous practices that determine how popular your product is, and how convenient and easy to use it is. We are not just talking about numbers, the so-called profit/revenue from sales. To increase profits and achieve our growth strategy, we must first ensure that we have created the right product for the right customers and that they are satisfied. Applying methods that will show and guide us on how we are doing is a good tool to achieve competitiveness, whether the core vision and mission are fulfilled while applying our values. The lack of this type of practices and their non-use in the organization will lead to the consumption of excess resources (including time, human, technological, and financial), as well as a lack of adaptability, which in the environment in which we impose our products, is strongly advocated. In addition, some companies do not implement product practices. But are they evolving in the industry they are in? Are they willing to outdo themselves? Are they willing to change the target audience they cater to? The issue is complex and again requires analysis and a judicious choice of usability practices depending on the need. In conclusion, I would like to share that any organization can only benefit from using the appropriate methods and practices to determine the usability of its products. The change in the habits and behavior of users requires us to constantly create the right product in order not to lose our users.