To compete today, products have to be more complex and accessible than ever, and the bar is only going to keep getting higher.

Consumers and enterprise users alike expect a phenomenal experience - and they don’t care how difficult it is to build. They just want it to work. Putting together all the pieces for that experience takes a very high level of sophistication and coordination.

If you want help creating innovative new products, download our End-to-End Product Development Process White Paper

Let’s look at one product type that’s popular now and getting more so: the smart thermostat. Here’s everything that goes into making that simple, flawless customer experience:

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There’s a lot going on there.

World-class products have a lot of moving pieces. But don’t mistake that for needing thousands of people. The best products in the world are created by notoriously small teams, with broad expertise, collaborating so closely that every piece is inseparable from the whole.

How does Apple create such brilliantly engineered, irresistible products? Some people say “Wow, Apple does everything!” Actually, Apple only offers a small range of products: phones, tablets,
laptops, desktops, and now watches. Their end-to-end product development process isn’t about doing “everything”. It’s about having all the disciplines involved in a project, and all the aspects of the product, aligned from the very beginning toward understanding and delighting the user.

So end-to-end product development doesn’t require a huge team - but it does require a very tight, interdisciplinary team of A players, with a laser focus on the end goal. In the case of a smart thermostat, it should be easy to control the temperature of your house, whether on a phone, in a browser, or on the device itself. Everything the team does works toward that goal.

Creating something to meet a spec is the wrong approach. That’s the road to failure, littered with false negatives, confusion, and missed opportunities. It has to begin - and end - with understanding the user.

Our End to End Guide to Product Development

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