Questions to Ask a New Product Development Company

If you’re planning to create products that offer something new to your market niche, a product development company can help bring your product ideas to life. They offer services that deal with the different stages of product design, analysis, documentation, prototyping, and production.  

Here are some of the crucial questions that you need to ask a new product development company before hiring them.

What are your core competencies?

Core competencies differentiate a company from its competition and determine what kind of advantage it can offer the market. Essentially, it refers to the company’s area of expertise. When choosing a product development company, you should focus on those companies with core competencies in your industry or in the kind of product you’re planning to develop.

The depth and breadth of experience in a specific competency are also equally crucial.  This means that whether you’re looking for rapid prototyping, business intelligence, or enterprise CMS, the product development company should be able to align their capabilities with your key strategic objectives.

What’s your project delivery process like?

Whether you’re a startup or an established firm with an expanding niche, you’ll need to consider the product development company’s delivery process into your hiring decision. Ask for project-specific information about their development and delivery process. 

Here are some of the things that should be included in their proposal:

  • Scope of the project – Product development can be broken down into five stages: ideation, research, planning, prototyping, and sourcing. If you’re going to need their services for all five stages, make sure that they understand and are able to handle your requirements. For instance, a company you can check out here offers full-service product development from idea refinement to manufacturing support.
  • Timeframe or deadline –  To keep the process on track and encourage a smooth flow of work, the company should clarify what they’re expected to deliver and when.
  • Project reporting and analysis – The proposal should contain the risks and issues associated with the project. The company should also include the steps they’re planning to take when there are variances between targets and actual accomplishments.
  • Costing and budgetary requirements – You’ll want to know if the product development process is within your budget or not. A plan for resource and budget utilization should be included in the proposal.

The process or methodology that the product development company observes will define how they work and communicate with you. Some processes are geared for comprehensiveness, others for speed. Make sure that you pick the company with a delivery process that aligns with your market needs and business requirements.

What work have you done in the past?

Take a look at the products previously developed by the companies you’re considering. You want to be certain that the company has experience working on the kind of product you’re trying to develop. You also want to know that they understand your product’s form and function, its target market, any compliance issues, the regulatory environment, and other crucial considerations surrounding the industry.

Ask for their service desk and take a look at their samples, portfolio, or case studies. This will give you an idea about their level of expertise in certain types of technology. Verify that the company is producing actual products. Remember that there are companies that specialize in the delivery of low-quality and non-scalable products like campaign apps, so avoid them as much as possible.

How much would your service cost me?

One of the oft-repeated pieces of advice for buyers planning to purchase any type of service or product is to never go for the cheapest option. However, you also shouldn’t just blindly choose the most expensive one. Instead, find the most cost-effective option.

Ask for a custom quote from your top choices. When evaluating whether a product development company is a cost-effective choice, consider the following questions:

  • Is their price directly related to the quality of the products they develop?
  • Why is their price so low or very high?
  • What sets the company apart from others in their field?
  • Can their services be specially customized for your business needs and requirements?
  • What is their method of payment? Do they charge a fixed price for the entire project or are their rates resource-based?
  • Do they offer reliable and secure guarantees?

You’ll find, in most cases, that the skilled and reputable companies also tend to charge more. While this shouldn’t be your rule of thumb, remember that it’s better to hire a company that has a slightly higher rate to secure your investment.

Conclusion

When you’re vetting product development companies, always think about your business needs and the end product. It’s often better to work with a company that can offer continuing services until your product has found its place in the market.

Adam Hansen