• Industry insights
  • People in tech
  • Product development
  • 15 Feb 2024
  • 8 min read

SaaS Product Development Lifecycle

SaaS Product Development Lifecycle

Insights for CTOs & Product Owners

Software as a Service is a topic we can’t ignore when discussing the technology industry. 

The first question: “What is SaaS?” Well, it’s a prime example of innovative software, changing how people and companies utilize technology. It’s not just about coding; it involves concepts, research, design, and deployment. In this article, we explore an overview of SaaS development by highlighting some key points.


In SaaS development, key factors extend beyond the product’s functionality. These are essential requirements that need to be solved, implemented, and budgeted for when setting up SaaS.


How does it work? SaaS, short for Software as a Service, operates on a subscription model for digital applications, where customers pay a fee to access features on their devices or online, rather than purchasing the software outright. Know that Slack, HubSpot, Mailchimp, Google Workspace, Zoom, and Atlassian are a few examples.

Source: https://devsquad.com/blog/saas-statistics

SaaS Development Phases & Essential Components

Starting a SaaS product development process indicates an exciting setting that brings together key phases to produce great software services. It includes important stages, from developing fresh ideas to improving user-friendly solutions. Let’s get a look at some important points that you have to consider. 


SaaS Development essentials:


  1. Creative ideas: start with fresh ideas and research for original solutions.
  2. User-friendly design: create easy-to-use interfaces and prototypes.
  3. Continuous improvement: use agile development for reliability and upgrades.
  4. Successful launch: communicate clearly to provide an easy introduction.


Key SaaS components:


  1. User-friendly interface: make it easy to use and attractive to boost engagement.
  2. Scalable architecture: built to grow without losing performance.
  3. Strong security: protect user data with strict protocols.
  4. Seamless integration: interact smoothly with other platforms for convenience.
  5. Insightful analytics: make decisions based on comprehensive insights.
  6. Effective support: provide responsive assistance channels.

Development Phases

Now we are going to explore the main phases of the software product development life cycle products – as in the basic steps involved in creating an excellent software as a service product. It all goes from understanding what makes SaaS products useful. Think that every step is important! 

Setting the foundation

  • Objective: define the idea, audience, and market landscape.
  • Actions: brainstorming, research, discovering unique value.
  • Costs: research, consultancy, concept validation.

Crafting user experiences

  • Objective: shape the user interface and experience.
  • Actions: designing iterations, mockups, and wireframe sketches.
  • Costs: design tools, hiring designers, prototype development.

Building & ensuring quality

  • Objective: create a functional, reliable product.
  • Actions: coding, feature development, rigorous testing.
  • Costs: team salaries, software tools, testing infrastructure.

Launching strategies

  • Objective:iIntroduce the product to users effectively.
  • Actions: configuring servers, marketing tactics, promotional efforts.
  • Costs: server expenses, deployment tools, marketing activities.

Evolving through feedback

  • Objective: obtain information, improve the product.
  • Actions: solicit and analyze user feedback, implement improvements.
  • Costs: feedback collection tools, potential development iterations.

Ensuring scalability & maintenance

  • Objective: ensure sustained performance and support growth.
  • Actions: scalability planning, regular updates, ongoing support.
  • Costs: scaling efforts, maintenance, and support resources.

Designing your product's strategy

SaaS companies are expected to grow a lot, reaching 72,000 by 2024, with most based in the US. Interesting, right? 

That leads us to the key steps for making a strong plan for your SaaS product. It’s not just about listing tasks; it’s about deciding what your team will do and staying with it. A good plan helps everyone work together, stay focused, and achieve the same goals.


  • Clarify your vision and goals

Know your goals: match your plan with the bigger business picture.

Understand users: analyze reports and user comments to solve actual issues.


  • Break goals into achievable parts

Phases breakdown: split your plan into more manageable sections.

Feature priority: pick what’s crucial for each step based on user needs and business goals.


  • Build a realistic timeline

Set time goals: estimate the time each part needs, including testing and adjustments.

Account for connections: consider how parts relate, affecting your overall timing.


  • Choose what matters most

Use prioritization tools: apply frameworks like MoSCoW or Eisenhower Matrix.

Weigh impact and effort: see how much a feature impacts against the work it needs.


  • Communicate and team up

Get everyone on board: make sure all teams understand and agree on the plan.

Keep feedback flowing: create ways to get ongoing input for a flexible roadmap.


  • Document clearly

Pick roadmap tools: use tools like Aha!, Trello, or Jira to lay it all out.

Be totally clear: make it very clear to everyone so there is no need for puzzles to be solved.


  • Stay flexible and improve

Always adapt: embrace changes based on user needs, market shifts, or tech advancements.

Regular reviews: check often to make revisions and adjustments. 


  • Measure success with metrics

Identify what works: set up clear ways to track your success.

Keep checking: keep an eye on these to see how things are going.


  • Be aware of obstacles

Manage risks: spot potential problems and have backup plans ready.


  • Grow and polish

Embrace changes: Let your roadmap evolve based on new info and shifts in the market.

Source: https://www.demandsage.com/saas-statistics/

Think of SaaS product development like building a tech tool. There are basic rules, like the code framework.


Everything else is like adding features and updates. A great team works together like a well-oiled machine, each member contributing their expertise to ensure success.

Timeline for SaaS Development

The time needed to create and launch a SaaS product varies, based on its complexity and scope. More intricate solutions with advanced features may take a year or longer, while simpler products might only need a few months. Picture the SaaS product development process like solving a complex puzzle, where the time needed for each piece differs.


  • Complexity: think of simple products as quick puzzles with a few pieces, taking just a few months to solve. But those intricate, advanced ones? They’re like the 1,000-piece puzzles—could take a year or more to piece together.


  • Team & skills: imagine a team working on that puzzle. More hands can speed things up, but coordinating them all? That’s the challenge. Skilled players? They’re the pros who can solve puzzles faster.


  • Tech stack: using ready-made pieces from other puzzles? That’s like using existing frameworks—quicker to solve. But building every piece from scratch? That’s like creating each puzzle piece—takes more time.


  • Approach: some solve puzzles by starting with the edges (Agile). Others go piece by piece (Waterfall). The first is faster with smaller pieces (MVPs), the latter is methodical but slower.


  • Compliance: imagine having to double-check every piece to ensure it fits perfectly—that’s compliance with sensitive data. It’s necessary but takes time.


  • Testing: you don’t want a puzzle missing pieces or having the wrong ones. Testing thoroughly ensures everything fits but also adds time.


  • Resources: ever tried solving a puzzle missing a few pieces? That’s what happens when you lack skilled players—the puzzle takes longer.


  • Market demands: imagine someone’s eager to see the completed puzzle sooner—that’s the market urging for quicker results.


Understanding SaaS product development timelines reveals a spectrum: from basic projects, often MVPs, wrapping up within 3-6 months, to moderate complexities demanding 6-12 months for completion. However, taking on complicated projects reveals a process that takes more than a year, where complexity requires time for execution and precision.

Budgeting SaaS product Development

Tech experts highlighted crucial aspects influencing SaaS product development costs. These factors, such as software scalability, UI/UX design, technology choices, security levels, and customizations, have an essential role in deciding your project’s final budget.


Estimating SaaS product development costs consist of various factors shaping the final budget. Project complexity, team setup, and technology choices all play a role. For example, simple MVPs can range from €17,000 to over €90,000, while complex solutions could cost millions. Think about the team next. Developer rates globally vary from €40 to over €230 per hour, affecting costs. Also, the team’s composition and the technology stack add to expenses.


Remember design, testing, compliance costs and marketing. Design can range from hundreds to tens of thousands. Budgeting also includes marketing and compliance expenses. For MVPs, expect €18,000 to €90,000 or more. Sophisticated projects could cost millions, while moderately complex solutions might range from €90,000 to €450,000 or more. Pro tip: once your product is ready for customers, invest in a solid marketing strategy, which involves additional costs beyond SaaS development.


To manage SaaS product development costs effectively, thorough analysis, starting with an MVP, and adapting based on user feedback are key. Regularly reviewing the budget’s alignment with project progress and market needs ensures a successful journey in SaaS software development.

Source: https://www.codica.com/blog/cost-to-build-saas-app/

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) every user should find on your SaaS page

Adding FAQs to your SaaS website offers quick answers and clarity to users. This helps them understand your product better and feel more confident using it. Make sure your FAQs include every relevant detail, and customize them to highlight the special features of your program. Answering those 10 frequently asked questions can make a significant impact for them. 


  1. What does your product do? Give a quick rundown of what your product does and how it helps users.
  2. How does your product work? Explain the basics of using your product in simple terms.
  3. Is your product user-friendly? Share why your product is easy to use and if there’s help available.
  4. What makes your product unique? Highlight what sets your product apart from the rest.
  5. What support do you provide? Talk about the support options available and how quickly users can expect help.
  6. How safe is your product? Tell users how you keep their data secure and private.
  7. What other tools does your product work with? Mention integrations and which devices or systems your product is compatible with.
  8. What are your pricing plans? Explain your pricing structure, trial options, and what each plan offers.
  9. How can I get started? Guide users through the first steps of using your product.
  10. Can I change my plan? Explain how users can upgrade or downgrade their subscription plans.
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