Acquiring PDLC Proficiency for Better Business Outcomes

Have you ever had a great product idea, but struggled to turn it into a successful outcome? Product development is a complex process that involves many stages, from ideation to launch and beyond. It’s not just about designing and building a product. It’s about creating something that meets the needs of your target audience, is delivered on time and within budget, and generates results for your company. That’s where the Product Development Life Cycle (PDLC) comes in. In this blog post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about PDLC and how it can help you turn your product ideas into successful outcomes.

Whether you call it out or not, your product teams are following a PDLC – a structured approach to bringing new products to market. From ideation and prioritization to design, development, testing, release, A/B testing, support, and measurement, each team member follows a defined workflow and collaboration pattern. By recognizing and optimizing this process, you can help ensure a more efficient and effective product development process.

What is the Product Development Life Cycle (PDLC) and what is oPDLC?

The Product Development Life Cycle (PDLC) is a process of how your company builds products and brings them to life to achieve customer and business outcomes. For most companies, it is structured around the product and development part of a “real” lifecycle. Whereas an oPDLC is a complete outcome-focused product development life cycle product development process from ideation to design, build, release, go to market, drive adoption, measure outcome, and iterate and improve. Like iPhone to a phone – oPDLC is a new generation, much more powerful PDLC to help outcome-focused organizations ensure that it meets customer needs and is successful in the market.

Why is implementing the right Product Development Cycle essential?

An effective organization runs on effective processes. An outcome-focused product organization needs to run an outcome-focused PDLC. 

Implementing the right product development life cycle is crucial for effective team collaboration, ensuring that critical elements and deliverables are not missing, and reducing confusion between handoffs from one team to another, e.g. from research to design to product to engineering – there are many cross-functional collaborations. 

Additionally, following the PDLC provides consistency for the executive team. It ensures that everyone is aligned and on the same page, from product managers to the chief product officer, including the development team, product marketers, and other relevant partners. Finally, it creates a positive team dynamic by focusing on solving problems rather than blaming individuals or teams. 

Overall, implementing the product development life cycle results in a streamlined and outcome-focused product development process, reducing the risk of costly mistakes, improving product quality, and increasing customer satisfaction.

The 7 Cycles of oPDLC (outcome-focused Product Development Life Cycle)

The traditional product development life cycle (PDLC) is a linear process of creating a new product from concept to market. It consists of different stages of the product with its own set of tasks and deliverables, and the PDLC framework helps teams stay organized and focused throughout the process. We have taken a step forward to also capture the pre-development process (goals setting, research, data analysis) and post-release (documentation, user education, product launch marketing initiatives) in what we call the Outcome Focused Product Development Life Cycle (oPDLC):

Diagram of oPDLC
  1. Goals/outcomes 

The first phase is setting the goals and outcomes for the project, where the team outlines the objectives they want to achieve with the new product.

  1. Allocation

The second phase is allocation, where the team assigns roles and responsibilities to each member involved in the project. This phase helps to ensure that everyone is clear on what is expected of them and helps to optimize resources. 

  1. Ideas

The third phase is generating ideas, where the team comes up with a pool of potential concepts for the new product. This can be done through brainstorming, market research, or user feedback.

  1. Prioritization

Once the team has generated a list of ideas, the next phase is prioritization. Here, the team evaluates each idea based on various criteria, such as market demand, feasibility, and profitability. They then select the ideas with the highest potential and prioritize them for further development.

  1. Planning

The planning phase comes next, where the team develops a detailed project plan outlining timelines, resources, and tasks required to execute the project successfully.

  1. Execution

The execution phase is where the actual development of the product takes place, and the team builds and tests the product. This phase requires close monitoring of progress to ensure that the project stays on track.

  1. Reporting

Finally, the reporting phase involves evaluating the project’s performance and documenting lessons learned to improve future projects. This phase also involves sharing project results and feedback with stakeholders to help inform future decisions.

Now that we’ve looked at the “why,” let’s take a look at the ‘how.” 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to ditching the feature factory and adopting Dragonboat’s outcome-driven approach.

How can Dragonboat help you run an effective PDLC?

As companies and teams evolve, they adjust their PDLC. But these process changes are hard to communicate and even harder to ensure adoption. Process change needs a system to support it, and Dragonboat is the perfect platform for product teams to design, roll out, adopt, and adjust oPDLC 

Every product team strives to follow a PDLC practice, but it’s hard to standardize it across the organization and different tools used for software development lifecycle vs. ideation and go-to-market readiness, which translates into inconsistent practices that require a lot of time, resources, spreadsheets, emails, team slacks, meetings.  

Dragonboat serves as a centralized hub for all product-related information, establishing a consistent practice across the organization and eliminating the need for scattered documents and spreadsheets. This streamlined approach enables the outcome-focused practice and provides transparency, and collaboration across teams, ultimately contributing to the organization’s success.

Hear what Dragonboat customers have to say about the importance of PDLC: 

“There’s many different phases you can use and flavors you can have with PDLC, but it’s always important to have only one understanding and single thread definition of what your product lifecycle is across the organization- and people can attach to that and create their own processes within those buckets”

Mark Kawczenski, Director of Product Operations, Procore.
Learn more from Talogy’s VP of Product Management, John Field

“Every organization produces something for their customers, and there must be a machine working to produce that product. From the initial idea, to the business requirements, QA’ing, to final product going Live to Site (LTS)- the development of product is a delicately choreographed dance with the product organization and the Engineering / Development organization. This process is called the Product Development Lifecycle (PDLC). AND there needs to be a picture so that the entire organization has a picture of the machine that produces the product and the rhythm of the organization.”

Avin Arumugam, Chief Product officer, One inc

If you want to learn more about how Dragonboat can help you implement an outcome-focused practice, set up some time, and we’ll be happy to show you our solutions and ask any questions that you may have.

Becky Flint

Becky is a product and tech executive based in the Silicon Valley. She has built and scaled product and engineering teams globally for both startups and Fortune 500 companies. Currently Becky is the founder and CEO of Dragonboat with a mission to empower responsive leaders and their teams to build better products faster. Prior to founding dragonboat, Becky has held executive roles at Feedzai, Bigcommerce, Tinyprints/ Shutterfly, and PayPal.
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