What were some key factors that shaped the development of the British colonies?
There were many different ways in which the colonies developed and many different factors that shaped each type of development.
For example, we can say that the colonies' governments were shaped by the fact that the British left them more or less alone. This period of "benign neglect" allowed the colonies more self government and got them used to ruling themselves.
We can say that the society of some of the colonies was shaped by the fact that England had the Church of England as its established religion. This led many Puritans to emigrate. Their emigration shaped the development of the society of New England.
There could be many other factors mentioned such as slavery, the availability of "free" land, the British mercantile system, and many many more.