Product Development in India

It is commonly believed that India has become a leader in Information Technology and good software development could be easily done in India. The last few years have clearly established the prowess of Indian companies in this space.

Surprisingly, however, many people believe that companies in India are good in software development but they could not develop products. Product development is a lot more than just the software development related to the product. Starting from getting the idea for a product to taking it through all its lifecycle is definitely a lot — really a lot — more than just developing the software needed for the product. And the current culture of most companies in India was not in that direction. But it will be naive to assume, for any US company or person interested in making sure that we are not being an ostrich, that in India products could not be developed. I don’t see any fundamental limitation in Indian industry that will suggest that it could not be done. Yes, there are some cultural factors — and the success of current outsourcing model has only encouraged that — that come in the way of product-oriented thinking. I have started seeing people who want to develop products in India now, however. I must add that a few years ago, it was difficult to meet anybody who talked products, but now many do.

Just yesterday I was with a close friend of mine who is a very successful entrepreneur from India and decided to build software products in India in earlu 80s and decided to live there. He has done very well. I respect his experience and understanding of Indian scene very much. He also warned me that real product development is very difficult, close to impossible, to do in India.

Based on my experience so far, it is definitely not a cup of tea, but I am encouraged. Hopefully in a few months, I will learn how and how much product development to do in India. Today, I am quite optimistic about it, but I am not going to be cautious.

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