How to Reduce Time to Market: Proven Tactics

Charles Cros was a 19th-century French poet and inventor who came up with the idea of the phonograph. He was the first person to have thought of a practical way of reproducing sound from a recording of airborne sound waves.

In 1877, Cros submitted a paper detailing his idea to the Academy of Sciences in Paris. However, before Cros had a chance to develop his product, Thomas Edison introduced a working phonograph in the United States. In early 1878, Edison patented his method of reproducing sound and the rest is history.

There is a long list of brilliant people with ground-breaking technology who failed simply because they entered the market too late. 

The length of time necessary to introduce a new product to the market is one of the most important factors in determining the success of the project and the rate of business growth. This holds true for both physical and digital products.

Typically, the company that is first to introduce a new product establishes brand recognition and captures market share. A late entrant runs the risk of looking like a copycat and contending with reluctant consumers.

In today's fast-paced markets where innovative products come to market daily, timing is critical.

What is Time to Market?

The time to market is defined as the length of time from the very beginning of product development to a product’s introduction to customers in the market.

The Importance of A Short Time to Market Process

The main reason why a company should reduce time to market is obvious: the sooner you introduce a product to the market, the more competitive your position will be. 

A business with a streamlined product development process captures market share and has more impact. This results in greater revenue and profit margin compared to the competition with a longer time to market.

Businesses lose financially when they don’t meet their time to market targets. In a famous study, McKinsey found that six extra months of time to market resulted in profit losses of 33 %.

Other studies show that first-comers can capture up to 70% of a market niche, while runner-ups cannot get more than 20%. 

Ways to Reduce Time to Market

According to a Gartner report, only 55% of all product launches are on schedule. For the 45% of delayed product launches, 20%, on average, don't succeed in meeting their internal targets.

Let's go over some of the proven ways of preventing delays in both your approval process and your product launch to beat your competitors to the market.

Proof of Concept (POC)

One of the best ways for companies to test the viability of their digital products is by creating a Proof of Concept (POC).

Proof of Concept is a short but comprehensive process that evaluates the feasibility of a digital product. The process generally involves outlining a proposed product's features, who the target customers would be along with all the work necessary to turn the initial idea into a market-ready product.

Benefits of Proof of Concept

Organizations can spot potential issues in the early stages of the project and save valuable resources by finding ways of improving the optimization process while removing unnecessary costs and inefficient processes.

Proof of Concept is a popular option when companies want to add new features to existing products, improve current products, or use third-party software.

Reduce Simultaneous Projects

Some companies with multiple products have one team (or one team member) dedicated to several projects at the same time. If you want to complete your project faster, then free your staff from other responsibilities until the job is done.

Cut Down on Wasteful Processes

Reducing time to market fundamentally means getting rid of bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the development process.

Very often software development teams get bogged down in producing more code than needed or making the architecture more complicated than necessary. Therefore, testing new ideas or features creates bottlenecks because only experienced software developers are able to make changes in the code.

This means that the development process comes to a standstill until the IT department can come and change the code.

To avoid these potentially disastrous delays, many companies use business rules engines in their digital products because they allow non-technical users to make changes to the product without touching the code. And the changes are instant.

Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

A minimum viable product is the first version of a product. An MVP is often used by technology companies to enter the market as soon as possible. It contains all the core features that can attract early-adopter customers while proving the viability of the product in the early stages of the development cycle.

However, in order for an MVP to succeed, it must offer value to users.

An MVP gives the product team important immediate customer feedback, which enables them to iterate and improve the product. Even though this approach can be risky when it comes to customer satisfaction, it releases products to the market as quickly as possible, while testing the feasibility of the product before allocating all resources to the product's complete development.

Deploy QA Processes Early

Discovering issues in the product early on plays a huge role in helping companies reduce time to market. Fixing even small bugs after release is both expensive and time-consuming, which delays your project for weeks and months.

Therefore, as soon as you start product development processes, be sure to use both development QA, including code review and unit testing, and testing activities, such as functional, integration, regression testing, and test automation.

Set A Fixed Budget

A fixed budget reduces the likelihood of overspending and cuts down waste; it helps achieve revenue goals, track finances, and reduce expenses.

Working with a pre-determined budget speeds time to market at both the managerial level and operative levels of the company.

Delivery Pipeline Automation

Many stages of the software development cycle can be automated. Automated deployment and testing, for example, can meaningfully reduce time to market while also improving product quality and cutting down on human error.

Automating processes using DevOps and CI/CD (Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery approach) frees up developers from having to manually perform repetitive tasks, which significantly increases productivity.

Optimize Workflows

Optimized workflows help businesses to reduce time to market. Realistic and automated workflows keep team members focused on their tasks and aware of deadlines while cutting down on human error (no risk of forgotten deadlines or outdated versions of critical information).

Also, by analyzing workflows, teams can spot bottlenecks that can be discarded, while identifying processes that require more resources.

Adaptability

It's one thing to get your product idea to market quickly, and it's quite another to make sure that your company can respond to all the sudden changes in regulations, the market, best practices, and customer preferences during the development process.

A company that can't modify its product quickly in response to external factors will suffer from a lengthy time to market.

Or perhaps worse, introduce a product that lacks market opportunities and isn't viable.

Companies use business rules engines to achieve a great level of flexibility because they empower non-technical experts to make complicated changes to digital products without relying on assistance from software developers.

As a result, companies can significantly reduce time to market when developing new products or updating existing ones.

Know When to Buy

Sometimes taking a product from idea to the market can be done completely in-house.

Oftentimes, however, businesses need to use third-party solutions to optimize the development process and drastically reduce time to market.

When you choose to build something from scratch, it requires a lot more resources than going with a ready-made software solution. In most cases, it doesn't make any financial sense to build an entirely new digital product from the ground up in-house.

Therefore, for the overwhelming majority of companies, it makes more sense to reduce development time by integrating third-party tools into their product.

Reducing Time to Market is a Competitive Advantage

A business that is able to reduce time to market can quickly deliver value and exceed customer expectations. The increased speed makes it easier to build engaged customer relationships, improve customer retention rates, and drive revenue.

Hyperon is a business rules engine that plays a critically important role in reducing time to market by allowing non-technical team members to build, update, and manage digital products instantly.

Rules engines are a must for businesses building products in fast-moving and volatile markets. Book a FREE call with one of Hyperon's experts to learn how our hyper-efficient tool can help enhance your product development strategy.

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