Conception- Design- Development- Deployment
The basic structure of product development is more or less unchanged across different products. But there are many areas of nuance which can affect the success of product development.
Division of responsibility, compartmentalized development, decision process- there are many factors for which the correct balance must be found to optimize the development process.
With technical projects more than ever, iterative development is widely popular One of the reasons the tech industry is so successful, is their ability to roll out updates at a fast pace and improve upon products with each version or iteration.
With each round of product development, the strengths of the original concept can be honed (hopefully) while removing unnecessary components (those that have low value to focus ratio).
The key to iterations is not simply how many times over you can release a product update, but how well planned a product roadmap is. With an optimized development process and flexible (but staunch) roadmap, updates can be planned ahead and combined intelligently to save development cycles.
With Product Development it's vital to remain diligent in mapping out new ideas rather than stubbornly sticking with an original design. Identifying a product's weakness is as important as focusing on it's strengths. Typically QA testing is the best time to identify future improvements, but catching these earlier on would allow for updates to get rolled into an earlier iteration, especially if development is properly divided to be flexible.
QA testing is an integral part of Product Development. Often times QA testing get's bogged down with "How does it work", rather giving some thought to "How it should work". As with every other aspect of Product Development, QA testing should be flexible instead of rigid. A step-by-step Testing Matrix by definition need to be clear in the path taken, but there should also be opportunity for out-of-the-box input about the experience.
Besides ensuring a development cycle is flexible to incorporate new ideas and well structured, it's important to properly size an iteration. Being able to understand the difficulty of updates is necessary for a manager to map out the development. Striking the right chord between bloated and trivial will help iterative development find the most effective pacing for a product.