There are so many styles you can use to guide your development process, and continuous development is a very common one. With this style and process, you are never truly done working and are instead constantly improving. Some may feel that this creates too much work or never leaves a satisfied feeling of completion, but it is quite different in application.
This development style is best used on live products or services, not something that has a definitive end. By actively supporting and building continuously, you reap a large number of benefits and bonuses other programs simply can’t provide.
First, let’s look at a process to set up your continuous professional development project.
If you want to get yourself and your team into the right mindset, you need a school of thought to guide you, a defined course of action that everyone agrees on. PDCA is an acronym for one such process and is commonly a guide for continuous development projects. Here is what each letter means and how you can interpret them:
- Plan: set where the goalposts are, decide on a structure, and make a road map for what you need to accomplish with your product.
- Do: put in the work to make your product a real thing and make sure it is in a usable state for customers.
- Check: see how your users are interacting with your creation and what they think of it. Take notes on feedback and start to organize your goal with these in mind.
- Act: put user feedback into the development process to improve overall use, remove glitches, and add requested services/expansions.
These simple guidelines have helped thousands of project teams create an easy structure for content waves. Some use this process over weeks, months, or even years, but the end result is the same.
Benefits of PDCA
Now let’s take a look at what benefits you can expect to see from this process.
A more engaged and happy team
When you have clear goals and set down a good roadmap for success, your team will be happy to follow along.
Ongoing development projects are all about the morale of your team and how well they all interplay. Giving a sense of ownership, involvement, and strong base support goes a long way in helping your team.
This is one of the benefits of continuous development projects and live services; your team will have the joy of refining a project and always keep it current. Longer, more active timescales like this provide healthy space for experimentation and innovation most projects never do. They can also directly interact with customers to provide an even better user experience.
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Customers get constant updates
Another massive benefit of continuous development is that customers are always receiving updates and expansions. Not only does this make them feel involved and listened to, but it keeps your service at the front of their mind. By staying involved with your audience and staying relevant, you keep them from moving on to something else.
Involvement is very important, and allowing a customer to feel listened to and catered to will ensure they stick around. Continuous development allows for this with the “Check” step. Taking in that feedback before implementing it can help guide where and what deserves your team’s attention.
Up-to-date and competitive product/service
With a continuous improvement model, you inherently have a more competitive and adaptable product. By working collaboratively and constantly to stay up-to-date, you can outpace, predict, or even set market trends. This competitive edge that comes naturally to continuous development projects is one of the crucial parts of them from an economic standpoint.
You can clearly and decisively dodge around or even outperform a competing program with a good team, and this will set you at the top of your market. With agile development of course comes research and man-hours, but you are already committed to the long haul. Use your “Check” stage to also see what your competitors are doing in the shared space!
More efficient use of time
If you spend hours upon hours finishing a usable product, then have to go back in and address issues, why not just continually develop? This is the final piece to the continuous development puzzle. Updates, feedback, and study are more effective ways to use your team’s time than determining when you will “finish”.
Products and services can constantly be improved and continue to evolve around market shifts and customer needs. There is no need to lock the proverbial door when you can instead invite people in and learn from them. Future iterations and innovations will always beat a stagnant product, and this is the true heart of continuous development. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at WillDom or connect with us on LinkedIn.