The primary focus is often on the product itself, and the development process comes second when it comes to innovation and digital product development.
Product managers must strike a careful balance between quality and how long it takes to develop. Moving too slowly and the consumer demand could wane. With relentless competition, time criticality, and high customer expectations, businesses worldwide are under pressure to speed their product development cycles while reducing cost and maintaining quality.
So let’s start by explaining what Time to Market is and why you should seriously review yours. Finally, we’ll show you how you can speed up the process of TTM and how you can improve your sales performance.
Understanding importance of Time to Market
Time to Market (TTM) is the period from the conception of a new product idea until the launch to the marketplace. TTM has become an increasingly discussed topic across industries. Since the new entrants enjoy fair benefits in revenue, market share, and sales growth, TTM is one of the vital KPIs.
Today digital products and technologies are rapidly changing, as do the number of competitors for market share. Hence, TTM is a critical component that directly affects revenue. If you delay the launch by six months, your competitors might grab market share, thus reducing any first-mover advantages for your offerings.
The more control you have over your digital product design and development, the better you’ll be able to manage and predict your time to market and get new technology out while it’s still new.
Why reduce TTM?
Apart from the main benefit of being a first mover, where you can react faster to market changes and always be one step ahead of competitors, there are additional reasons to improve your TTM.
- Efficient management. Building a reliable timeline helps your team get ahead of the production cost and time, create schedules based on lead time and headcount planning.
- Predictable launch dates. If you can accurately predict when your product will be released, you can take advantage of various marketing opportunities.
- Improved market shares. Releasing your innovations ahead of the pack will allow you to corner higher market shares.
- Increased overall revenue. The earlier you get your product to market, the more income you can generate since there will be less competition. Plus, you earn revenue for more of the product life cycle.
How to measure TTM
So, first, know what it is you are measuring and why. You can estimate the time on the calendar that it takes your team to bring a concept to market, including the person-hours, and the cost, or any combination. Typically, the product development TTM is when the team begins to first customer ship.
The variation in how the brand defines the measurement and the measured values can vary depending on the company. For instance, in some companies, the development period starts as soon as the product concept is approved, while in others, it starts on its development cycle.
Determine when the project begins and ends as precisely as you can.
The most significant factors that can affect time to market are the project’s scope, its process, the technologies it integrates, and how much risk it contains.
How to shorten your Time to Market
Although there is no hidden system for fast cycle time, here are some tried and true practices to speed up time to market while ensuring high-quality product development.
Implement a clear strategy
Determine your market and make sure you understand your audience. Some key considerations include:
- The needs of your target audience
- The benefits of the new product
- The product fit into the current market
Then, create a roadmap detailing all the steps you will take from product iteration to testing to launch. Your product development strategy should identify a clear timeframe.
An agile method is a technique of project management that helps teams respond to the unpredictability of product development. The agile approach sees sprints or short but specific actions to complete sections of creation. This requires reviewing work from the sprint period, thus building quality into the process. By adding agile tools and methodologies to productdevelopment, organizations can shorten the time, respond to changes faster, and deliver a higher-quality product.
ORIL, just like many other companies, uses an agile process that relies on feedback from customers and frequent iterations. Agile methodologies applied to all functions of product development enable innovation to occur rapidly and more reliably.
How does agile speed up TTM?
The scrum approach breaks down the wall between the market and the product concept. It helps your team validate and test your concepts and hypotheses, check its correlation with business needs, and put it in use at the earlier stages by building an MVP. The team then incorporates the feedback from customers into products as quickly as possible.
Versions are then tested with real customers again and again.
The agile approach improves time to market while ensuring regular interaction with clients by moving the market into the workspace and increasing efficiency as team members work on more code that ships.
Create well-defined workflows
By analyzing workflows, you can determine inefficient steps to eliminate bottlenecks that elongate the process, under-booked resources, and so much more. One way would be to do away with isolated silos or departments and have a process where all players can openly share knowledge.
Build specific product roadmaps
Every new product has unique resource requirements, timelines, and costs. To cut down on TTM and make planning more accurate, you need to develop roadmaps for each digital product you develop. A clear roadmap helps you prioritize tasks effectively and provide visibility to the team.
Make shorter approval processes
The approval process is crucial to any product launch, yet it’s usually a pretty difficult and time-consuming task that depends on the number of stakeholders. Keeping track of the latest
version and alterations is vital for ensuring a smoothly running process, not to mention the final product. Shorter approval processes give your team enough time to make critical decisions well before the release date.
So, getting a closer look at your approval processes can reduce your overall TTM.
Automate the development process
Another tip to decrease time to market that we couldn’t leave out is process automation. Replacing manual and time-taking labor with automatic ones decreases the risk of human errors like forgotten deadlines, inaccurate versions of critical data, and others. When the system takes care of routine tasks and notifications, your team members don’t have to figure out when and what is needed.
To find which tasks are the best candidates for automation, reach out to each team member. They’ll help you identify bottlenecks in day-to-day workflows and provide a comprehensive picture of how much time it takes to accomplish certain tasks. But this is just the tip of the iceberg, as automation tools hold endless opportunities for time and resources saving.
Adapt as you go
Investigate your adaptability. The level of a company’s flexibility determines the success and longevity of the company. If your organization can’t adapt to sudden changes in demand, regulations, social factors, chances are your time to market will be longer.
Being adaptable is not only a mindset that your team should have. Keeping your workflow and tools flexible also helps your team stay as elastic as needed.
Invest in the proper product management software tools
Product managers need to bring their products to market at the right time and in the right way. And they can do that if they have the right tools on hand – those designed to generate reports crucial for effective management, solve product management problems, make decisions based on data and accelerate processes.
Take the time to understand and invest in the right product management tools. Start by assessing the current state of your processes and related tools.
Setting up the metrics
Team members should be involved in the metric reports. Gathering the results of each department and sharing them with the rest of your team helps them develop agility and make good decisions quickly and efficiently, which translates into a faster development process.
Management leaders should facilitate access and visibility to ensure that objectives are met, and results are adequately tracked.
Assign revenue goals
Having a revenue target for the innovation team is essential to success. Your business won’t work if you don’t have a specific goal in financial terms. Innovations are intrinsically linked to your business model. Hence, it’s imperative that you measure the success of the investmentmade to innovations in terms of its financial returns. This will surely push the team to have a faster time to market.
One of the most common calculations is Return on Investment (ROI). ROI estimates how much value your digital products generate in proportion to how much you invested in creating them.
Monitor product usage and attractiveness
Albeit less relevant to stakeholders, customer-focused metrics will reveal how your product development efforts convert into user interactions. You should know how many consumers use your product and how they engage with it. You need to figure out how well you convert new customers and how well you retain existing ones. On that matter, your team must follow customer churn closely.
One more category you need to consider when setting your digital product success KPIs is how the overarching business performs. For instance, you should be aware of how much market share you have today and how much you’re winning or losing due to a digital product launch.
Benefits of improving TTM for your business
Regardless of your primary business strategy, boosting your time to market should be of your highest priorities. The research discovered that the first comer takes up to 70% of a new market niche, while the second entrants can anticipate around 20%.
It’s therefore critical for a company to speed up its time to market as it provides immediate benefits, like:
- Improve revenue margin. Your business will benefit from improved revenue margins as new products and services are released earlier than expected, and it meets what the market demands.
- Enhance team and company productivity
- Increase customer satisfaction. Consumers can try out new products faster and improve their value streams using your product.
- Stay ahead of the competition. Your product will be on the market way quicker than your competitors, which means that you’ll be exposed to more market opportunities and secure higher market shares.
- Garner larger sales figures
How ORIL can help businesses speed up digital product development
By serving as a trusted partner, ORIL helps companies innovate, develop, bring to market, and manage new product offerings. We help create strategies to optimize resources and stay ahead of the next wave of disruptive technologies.
We collaborate with organizations to determine how our expertise will best support your success. ORIL product development services include:
- Advisory – Ideation, product feature prioritization, and portfolio evaluation.
- Management – tools and best practices to maintain continuous delivery, distributed source control, and agile approach to the process.
- Development – comprehensive product development services, including architecture, design, development, integration, and customization.
- Re-engineering – re-engineering existing software systems to meet new regulations, enable cloud connectivity, scale infrastructure, integrate new features, and enhance the product to drive added revenue.
- Testing and quality assurance – a complete menu of testing capabilities includes functional, compatibility, installation, and test automation.
- Maintenance – efficient software product maintenance enables faster upgrades with fewer resources, a reduced timescale, and more time for your team to develop innovations.
Getting your product to market
Digital product speed to market is an essential factor for the competitiveness of businesses. Efficiency is vital for managing that speed, but this should never be at the cost of product quality and effectiveness.
Getting to market as efficiently as possible isn’t easy, but it’s undoubtedly made simple if you have a good foundation and follow best practices to meet your goals. If you’re looking to accelerate product development, ORIL is waiting to hear from you. Check us out on Clutch, the platform that unites global technology service providers with buyers.
We look forward to working on your digital project development.