Why are the software products unique?
Unlike physical products, software products are different. Both software and physical products have similar lifecycle like market research, design, development, testing, and production. However, they are different in their unique way. Understanding these differences will help to pave the way for better software products.
Faster and cheaper deployment
One of the unique aspects of the software product is its distribution, and it is fast and cheap. Distribution cost is almost negligible compared to what we spend on developing a product. It may take years to develop a product, but it is almost cost zero to distribute it. Take the case of Microsoft or Apple. It takes years to develop new software but installing it across billions of people instantaneous almost takes nothing.
Development can be incremental
In traditional products, you need to get the product right the first time. It takes effort to push new features. There is always a cost associated with it. Every time Apple or Samsung comes up with a new mobile, it involves an enormous cost to the end customers to upgrade
However, in the software lifecycle, they can release multiple features at a time. Sometimes, features are released daily. The flexibility of releasing the feature is enormous.
Ambiguity at the design stage
The software product has the luxury of being ambiguous during the design stages. I have seen many of the Products at the design stages are very sketchy, and at the end of development, it turns out to be something altogether. Software product undergoes many cycles of iterations during rollout and even after rollout.
Software Product development processes were generously copied from the manufacturing process of the physical product. But we need to draw a line, the software product is fundamentally different, and it needs to be look through a different lens.