Analysing Companies Who've Made the Shift to Third-Generation Agile Product Development

May 29, 2019 4:59:45 PM

team working on product development

Businesses interested in experiencing growth have turned their attention to product development. The development of new products helps breathe new life into the business. The benefits connected to product development include:

  • Laying the groundwork for the business to enter into previously unexplored markets
  • Allowing the business to reconnect with loyal customers while establishing relationships with new customers
  • Increased revenue
  • Improved performance

While there are many benefits connected to product development, developing a new product isn't without risk. Only one out of every four products that enter the development stage will eventually be launched, and only half of those will meet the developer's expectations. 

While there will always be an element of risk connected to launching a new product, one of the best way to mitigate the risk is understanding that one of the reasons so many newly developed products fail is because the company behind the design took a linear approach to the development project. Twenty or thirty years ago, this approach, which is currently called a first-generation approach to product development was highly successful, but things have changed. In recent years, businesses have switched to a style of product development that's called second-generation product development which allowed improved the efficiency of the process while also reducing wasted times and resources.

Recently, some businesses have discovered an even more streamlined method of product development: third-generation product development.


Businesses That Made the Shift to Third-Generation Agile Product Development

Three business have already made the jump to third-generation agile product development and have enjoyed impressive results.


When most people think about third-generation agile product development, they think of software and app development companies. However one of the companies that has enjoyed the most success after switching to third-generation agile product development is Toyota. Like all vehicle manufacturers, the company is constantly looking for ways to develop new products or improve current products, to do this, they turned to agile development techniques.

Toyota broke their product development management process into six groups:'

  • Social processes
  • Supervision
  • Mutual adjustment
  • Design standards
  • Integrative leadership
  • Standard talent/skills
  • Standard work process

Once Toyota set up the organization modules, they created cross-functional teams who worked towards a common goal. Rather than scheduling regular meetings which were time-consuming and slowed the product development product, Toyota urged the heads of each project squad to communicate in writing. When a squad identified a potential risk or the teams reached a major disagreement and face-to-face meeting was arranged.

The success of Toyota's third-generation agile product development process was visible when they successfully brought the RAV4 mini-sport-utility vehicle from the idea stage to product launch in just 24 months. 


When PayPal decided to move to agile product development, they created 510 different cross-function teams. They then created a 4-pillar system to improve operations and app development. The company spoke to managers, engineers, and customers and identified ways that they could use agile development to improve their overall operations and launch an app. It took the company about 7 months to launch their new system. Once launched, the agile development practices triggered a 340% revenue increase.


When they decided to try agile product development, Vistaprint had just one goal. They wanted to decrease the amount of time it took to develop a new product. Prior to making the change to agile development, it took about 60 days for the company to go from the idea stage to product launch. After developing cross-functional squads, the company shortened the idea to launch time to a mere 15 days. 

 IT team meeting in office

How Third-Generation Agile Product Development Works

Third-generation product development focuses on the use of agile development techniques which enables businesses who are interested in developing software and apps to take a lean approach to developing a product which reduces risk. Once the company is satisfied with the early version of the software and app, they launch the product and start collecting feedback. The business uses the feedback to tweak the software/app, adding features and making improvements that trigger a surge in customer satisfaction.

Product development teams that used the third-generation agile development techniques, reported that:

  • They were able to drastically shorten the amount of time it took to develop new products
  • It was easier to pair both overall business objectives with IT objectives
  • There was a surge in overall productivity

There are 3 characteristics of third-generation agile product development:


Fast Timelines

First and second generation product development was a slow process, with it taking months, and sometimes even years, to take the product from the idea stage to product launch. Agile development is different. This third-generation style of product development is fast. The trick to getting the product developed and launched in a short period of time is the creation of product squads that handle multiple tasks simultaneously.

Sprintat has the resources, talent, and tools, to complete agile product development sprints in just 1-4 weeks.


Cross-Functional Product Development Modulars

Small groups of cross-functional teams who work on different aspects of a developing product are a key component of third-generation agile product development. Each team works on a specific module.

Module examples include:

  • Manufacturing
  • Troubleshooting
  • Final design
  • Launch
  • Etc.

Each project squad has a team leader who works with a creative manager who oversees the entire project to keep it on time. The creative manager is responsible for making sure each of the modular come together seamlessly when it's time to launch the new product.


Identifying Risk

The talent pool of cross-functional product development teams is so deep, that the team members identify risk issues early in the development process and quickly take steps to mitigate the problem. The development teams at Sprintat are trained to identify risks, prioritize the potential threat, and launch risk reduction plans.

Early risk identification paid off for the developer of medical devices who discovered that agile product development identified problems that would have reduced the overall performance of their device by 80% had the problem not been identified and corrected by a product development squad.


How Sprintat Assists with Product Development

Sprintat specializes in helping business who lack the in-house development talent to fully utilize agile techniques while developing products. We help you fill those gaps by providing:

  • Product quality control
  • A wide array of technical resources
  • Product development tools and talent
  • Collaboration between your current development teams and Sprintat development teams 

Contact us and schedule a meeting where you'll learn how our agile product development process helps your business grow.

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