What is the difference between software development and product development?

As the reliance on software continues to grow rapidly, many individuals are finding it to differentiate some of the terminologies used in the IT industry. Software products and solutions for SaaS development and software development services are now used in various industries, including finance, health, entertainment, banking, and much more. Thus, software product development services are working round the clock to bring robust and intuitive software to meet the rising demand.

The most common software products include standard applications used by a large number of customers. Software products need to adapt to specific customer requirements and solve the demands of different customers. Here we look at the difference between software development and product development.

Software Development

Software development life cycle or process is a complex structure imposed on the whole journey in software product development. The process can take several models, which describe the approach to different activities and a number of tasks involved in the development process.

The Processes

A number of software development services follow different methodologies in the software development process. The process involves different activities, which include

Analysis of the Requirements

The first step in software development is analyzing the requirements. Usually, the process will require specific IT skills as well as knowledge and experience in software engineering and development. Thus, it is advisable to analyze and determine whether all the necessary requirements to ensure the process runs smoothly.


Specification involves describing the software that needs to be developed clearly. In most cases, specifications are written to allow for easier understanding and as fine-tune of applications that were built in the past. But, before application development, the safety-critical software products are specified.

Software Architecture

This refers to a full abstract representation of a product or the system. Software architecture ensures that the future product meets the specified requirements and adapts to future requirements.


The implementation process involves reducing a product design to code. This is one of the major processes in the software development process.


Testing is important as it ensures that each part of the process is done according to the requirements. This process is necessary, especially when more than two software developers are involved in coding. Usually, testing parts of the software is done by a good software development partner or software engineer.


The documentation of the internal design of the whole software is important as it helps in maintenance and future enhancement.

Training and Support

Regardless of the effort and time developers dedicate to software projects, all the hard work will not matter until somebody in the organization uses the product. So, apart from planning, software outsourcing developers should also organize some classes to enlighten people on utilizing the product.

Unfortunately, many people are resistant to any change and may sometimes try to avoid venturing into unfamiliar territory or uncharted areas. In this case, you need to organize classes for enthusiastic and confident software users before shifting the training towards normal users. Lastly, incorporate the other employees in your organization into learning and adopting the latest software product.


This is the last process in software development, which helps address issues raised through feedback from the end-users. Despite it being a phase in the development, it might take a longer time than the other stages as it involves coping with the latest requirements and newly found problems.

During this stage, developers must add code that doesn’t match the original design and also determine how the product works. Maintenance also involves fixing bugs and also extending systems to handle new tasks.

Product Development

Product development is another common terminology in the IT industry that most people seek to understand the actual meaning and what it entails. It consists of various aspects, which include:

Requirement Analysis

The whole process of requirement analysis can be quite challenging to developers. In this case, software developers should understand the general requirements of the customers or a target audience. Then, they also need to know the requirements that can apply to all customers. Common requirements point to the main features required in the product, while different requirements describe where the software product needs to be customizable.

Besides, the entire requirement analysis process requires great experience, more time, and in-depth and well-rounded knowledge in this domain. In this case, there are two different ways to identify the product requirements and gain the necessary domain knowledge. There are two ways to acquire domain knowledge and determine product requirements:

Option 1: Working on multiple projects before collecting product requirements based on different projects to act as an important second step. The success of the whole approach will mainly depend on the number of projects implemented. This is because the developers will gain more knowledge on the domain and customer requirements as they handle more projects.

Option 2: In this case, the software developer will begin from scratch and collect and collate requirements without any experience in the given domain. The software developers can achieve this by carrying out a requirement analysis using a small group of users and analyzing competitors. Unfortunately, this option presents more risks than the first one as developers are less likely to find a sample of customers that would give a better overview representing the requirements of the whole group of customers.

Choice of Technology

Choosing the right technologies in product development is extremely important as developers will have to rely on them for a long time. Thus, custom web development services should carefully choose the right technologies to meet the current demands and future requirements and needs. With the right development style and technology choice, the companies can build a high-quality code that fits and supports their tech choices in the future.

Usually, replacing outdated technology with the latest one is time-consuming and also costs a lot of money. This means that it is almost impossible to convince the organization’s management to support it. Thus, it is important to evaluate different technologies to ensure that you choose one that is likely to serve the purpose for a long time.

Quality of Code

The code’s quality depends on the duration the developers are required to support the whole code base. It also depends on how often developers will adapt or extend the applications. This explains why code quality is more important for software products than software projects.

A software product will require maintenance for years and would also want change to maintain a competitive edge. Thus, developers need to be serious with the code from the early stages of development to ensure that the customers don’t have to pay for a quality code in the future.


A software product needs to be adaptable as it should be able to adapt to the requirements and needs of different users. This can be achieved by implementing a different plugin mechanism or making the components of the whole logic configurable. For example, Eclipse IDE comes with its plugin marketplace. This allows different developers to utilize it while using unique custom configurations plus a set of plugins.

Unfortunately, these options make the system more complex and require extra time to implement and test. Spending more time on the system due to these options is important in ensuring the software product’s success in the long term.


The best way to calculate the price of a product is by determining the value that it provides to its customers and what they are ready to offer as payment for it. Thus, the price of the product is usually lower than the costs of development. Since the product is sold many times, the difference in the cost of development and what the customer is able to pay does not matter.


Many people are dependent on software development and products for a wide range of purposes. Thus, it is important to understand the difference between software development and product development, including what the two entail. Software products have now become valuable tools that help in financial management, documentation, entertainment, designing, and much more. Understanding the differences helps companies make informed decisions while choosing the ideal process for software or product.

Thanks & Kind Regards,

Thanh (Bruce) Pham


Saigon Technology Solutions


Email: thanh.pham@ saigontechnology.com

A Member of Forbes Technology Council 

Mobile: (+84) 913 666 227 

Skype: tienthanh.pham (Thanh Bruce Pham).