Breaking Down the Digital Product Development Process

Stacy Henry

6 min read

Jun 30, 2020

Breaking Down the Digital Product Development Process

We’ve spent some time discussing exactly what digital product development is, so now it’s time to get into the how behind the process. In essence, digital product development is the process of bringing a digital idea to life through best-in-class development and stellar design—all guided by cutting-edge workflow strategies. 

A well-thought-out and beautifully-built digital product takes time and is best approached with a considered purpose. So the results of such an endeavor is a product that your company is proud of and your end-users love engaging with. 

So how do we get from idea to amazing digital product? We’re so glad you asked! 

The Phases of Digital Product Development

To turn your brilliant ideas into authentically useful solutions, you’ll hit most (if not all) of the following:

  1. Assessment
  2. Discovery
  3. Product Development
  4. Continuous Engagement

Stage 1: Assessment 

Your digital product truly begins by first taking a step back. The Assessment period is a chance for you to examine the demands of your project and the capabilities of your team. By performing code and design audits on your existing systems and desired solution, a DPD firm can not just point you in the right direction, but can provide the leadership and guidance you need to get started on the right foot.

This assessment process also takes into consideration the unique needs of your business and those of your end-users. Even though pen has yet to meet paper (or fingers have yet to meet keys), this step is crucial to building a digital product that you will love and your users won’t be able to stop using.

Stage 2: Discovery

This stage actively involves you and your end-user and typically means a lot of questions. How do you see your app working? What problems are you hoping to solve? What do your end-users expect from your product? In order to be most accurate, the answers will come from both you and your users. 

Think of it like a friendly match of tennis, where questions and ideas are lobbed back and forth from the product development team to the client. This step saves time and money in the long run as any problems or needs that arise can be addressed from the get-go, rather than building a product and then discovering you didn’t solve client pain points.

Stage 3: Product Development 

Here’s where the rubber meets the road (or the Nerds meet the Ranch, as we like to say). In this stage a complete DPD team begins the actual work of designing and developing your product. Using the information gathered from the first two steps, a good firm will follow the process of experience-driven transformation, or keeping your end-user firmly in mind throughout development.  

There are two main steps that the product team will typically take: 


This process involves creating extensive models and testing them until the product meets the highest standards of user usability and utility. This process looks like this:

  • Napkin sketches turn into wireframes.
  • Multiple lo-fidelity prototypes eventually result in a few hi-fidelity ones.
  • These hi-fi prototypes get narrowed down into a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
  • Eventually, your MVP turns into a final product, ready to launch. 

Developing a MVP allows you to test the bare-bones of your solution, upon which you can later add layers of functionality, UX, and UI as you continue to test and iterate.


This is the time to root out any bugs, display issues, and more. Several devices and operating systems will be tested for functionality and compatibility, and the UX/UI will be smoothed out and sanded like a fine piece of mahogany.

 Stage 4: Continuous Engagement 

No matter how perfect a process is, a product will never be perfect (and that’s okay). If you’ve found a digital product firm that’s worth their salt, they will have brought you to this point ready to succeed. That means the leadership and guidance they provided throughout the process leaves your product and your team ready to handle future expansion. 

And that expansion often takes the form of continual testing, user feedback, and data analysis after a launch. A good DPD process will ensure that all future improvements will be minor fixes, with major app-breaking bugs having been avoided through smart design and development practices. 

Do You Need a Digital Product Development Firm?

Digital product development goes above and beyond just “building an app.” It’s why many businesses entrust a Digital Product Development firm to handle all the nuances. If you’re considering a DPD firm, here are some reasons why you may want to reach out:

  • You have an idea for a product, but you don’t have the team to execute it.
  • You are unsure of the scope or skill set required to bring your idea to life.
  • Your team lacks the web, design, IoS, or Android skills necessary to create your product.
  • You want to improve or optimize an existing digital product or system.

Once you decide that you want to jump into digital product development, it’s time to find the right agency that will accelerate your creative process and help you build your dream product.

Big Nerd Ranch Wants to Solve Your Toughest Problems

Big Nerd Ranch is the digital product development agency that is as passionate about your product as you are. We are invested in taking your company to the next level, while mentoring your team along the way. 

Our expertise falls into three main categories:

  • App development for web, Android, and iOS
  • Design (UX/UI)
  • Project Strategy

Our versatile and committed team provides guidance and development on a wide range of projects, including but not limited to the following: 

  • Internal systems that manage finances, productivity, sales, and supply chain.
  • Giving your website a fresh coat of stellar UI and making it mobile-friendly. 
  • IoT integration for both internal and client-facing applications, like connecting mobile apps to household appliances or connecting internal systems to production controls. 
  • Integrating streaming, social-sharing, geo-locating, and more onto mobile and web apps.
  • Implementing e-Commerce functionality onto your web platform.
  • Refining the UX/UI on all your digital platforms.

Our love for web, mobile, and design is in our name—we’re just a bunch of nerds who enjoy solving difficult problems. So, if you have a massive digital project on the horizon or just need a back-end boost on your current system, we’ll always have the right expert for the job. 

Building the Right Products for Your Business

Big Nerd Ranch isn’t just any DPD agency. With over two decades of experience in the tech industry and a long history of teaching, we believe in problem solving with a mentorship twist—that’s why, no matter the solution area, we also offer expert guidance and leadership for your team.  

Here are some of the areas we’ve found opportunities for growth and user engagement.

  • Field Service – A purpose-built application for your employees that work primarily outside of your firewall. 
  • Digital Brokerage – Solutions that provide your end-users access to their data or connecting them more efficiently to digital marketplaces. 
  • Security and Regulatory – These solutions require a high level or regulatory compliance and are typically centered around the healthcare and FinTech markets, 
  • Voice UI and Chat Bots – Provides a more efficient and streamlined connection to the consumer. 
  • Multiexperience Development – Gives your users an intuitive and engaging experience across platforms. 

How Big Nerd Ranch Can Help Your Team

Our DPD process is what allows us to determine the right, solution-focused approach. Should you have a digital product challenge of your own, here’s what we can do for you and your team:

  1. Depending on the project, we will first perform code and design audits—to deepen our understanding of your product goals and to determine the skills needed to achieve your end-goal. This will inform how we guide your team and assemble our own. 
  2. If you are interested in having us mentor your team, we will also assess existing skill gaps and team dynamics to design the appropriate training roadmap for efficient workflow and continuous growth. 
  3. We will then engage in the DPD process with a focus on design thinking to create a brilliant digital product that leaves your end-user satisfied and helps kick your revenue or productivity into high gear.
  4. Using verified practices for workflow and continual engagement, we will leave your team with the refined toolset and electric enthusiasm needed to maintain and improve your shiny new digital product.

If this sounds like a good fit for your business goals, reach out today. Let’s see how we can jump into your next digital product—and rev up your team— together. 


Web Essentials. The 7 Stages of Digital Product Development.

Stacy Henry

Author Big Nerd Ranch

Stacy is the current COO for projekt202 and former CEO and General Manager of Big Nerd Ranch. She’s overseen the creation of world-class digital products that support large-scale businesses around the world, including Google and Amazon.

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