Who are the most sophisticated players in the outsourced product development industry?
What is Product Development?
One of the challenges of writing about Product Development is providing a clear definition of its scope.
In my opinion, Product Development is synonymous with Product Management. In short, Product Management’s role is to align Business/Marketing requirements, UX requirements & Technology requirements throughout the Product Development process. Business & Marketing requirements define UX/Product which in turn define Technical requirements.
It is important to note that Product Managers aren’t typically Software Architects.
Outsourced product development meaning in Eastern Europe
Product development services are not well represented outside the US and Western Europe.
In Eastern Europe, the traditional definition of Product Development is a combination of the following disciplines:
- Business Analysis
- Product Design (& UX/UI)
- Product Marketing
- Product Management
This being a relatively new field (outside of the US), there is sometimes confusion in Europe about the difference between IT Project Managers and IT Product Managers.
Very few companies have significant Go-To-Market, High-Tech Marketing or Customer Development Consulting expertise. However, there are a few notable exceptions to this located in Ukraine & Russia and the purpose of this article is to:
- Identify them; and
- To compare and contrast what they offer
Based on reading their marketing material/positioning we found many studios which claim to offer product development services in Ukraine. So we researched their Clutch profiles, customer reviews to identify what the outsourced product development industry can offer in terms of key competencies and skills sets.
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Early Product Development Stages
Stage 1 = Business analysis – It is difficult, if not impossible to successfully commercialise a product without high-level analysis of the business model, marketing & sales processes. There is no need to perfect the business model at the very beginning, but in order to do the UX/UI process correctly your designers will need to understand the business objectives, otherwise, they’ll develop wrong interfaces. A thorough business analysis stage or ‘Product Discovery’ stage needs to take place before the UX/UI stage commence.
It’s almost impossible to successfully commercialise a product without high-level analysis of the business model, marketing & sales processes.Click to tweet
Stage 2 = UX/UI – For most products, the UX/UI stage comes next. These first two stages form an intrinsic part of product development.
As a pure Product Manager (not Product Designer), I need to partner with other studios who specialise in providing UX/UI services.
It important to reflect on which subset of product development skills you need when selecting a suitable partner.
My top list of 10 product development companies in Ukraine & Belarus
|Studio||Location||Product Development Focus|
|Qubstudio||Lviv, Ukraine||UX/UI, Product Design, Logo Design, Branding|
|The Gradient||Lviv, Ukraine||Product Vision, UX/UI, Product Design, Product Marketing, User Research, Market Research, Go-to-Market Strategy, Digital Branding, Analytics|
|69pixels||Minsk, Belarus||Analytics, Service Design, UX/UI|
|Argent Systems||Kyiv, Ukraine||UX/UI, IT Consulting,|
|Meat Agency||Kyiv, Ukraine||Usability Testing, User & Stakeholder Interviews, Product & Content Strategy, Prototyping|
|Yedynka Digital||Kyiv, Ukraine||Digital strategy, Digital campaign, Content management|
|Alty||Kyiv, Ukraine||User Research, UX/UI, Market And Competition Research, Niche Research|
|Hexagon||Kyiv, Ukraine||UX/UI, Branding, Product Marketing, Product Research, Product Strategy, Usability Testing|
|Basov Design||Kyiv, Ukraine||Product Vision, UX/UI, Digital Strategy, Logo Design,|
|Smartica Skykillers||Kyiv, Ukraine||Digital Strategy, Digital Creative Services, Design & UI, Development & Production, Digital Advertising: CPC, CPA, SMM/ Content, Digital PR, and Mobile Marketing|
Our findings are that the term ‘product development studio’ can take on a variety of meanings related to quite a number of different skills sets.
Every company, whether located in Eastern or Western Europe or in the US, has a slightly different definition of the term depending on the services they offer and how they market themselves.
Be alert. Choose wisely.
Photo credit: The Gradient.