Best Practices to Reduce Time to Market
Imagine you are applying for a job. You exceed all the qualifications for the position, and no one can do this job better than you. But when you apply for the interview, you see you are too late. They’ve already hired someone else.
In competitive markets where new technologies are constantly developing, the process is not much different from this. You can have a great idea and a great product development process, but the longer it takes you to launch your product to the market, the less your chances of success will be.
When you enter the market, your potential customers may already be loyal customers of a similar product. For this reason, you should take care to improve your time to market as much as the features of your product.
And what’s time to market, you ask?
As the name suggests, time to market is actually a measure of the time it takes to enter the market. In this article, you’ll discover precisely what time to market is, why it’s essential, and most importantly, what you need to do to improve it.
Let’s start by defining this metric and what it means for your business.
What is time to market?
Say you came up with a product idea and shared it with your product development team. You have completed all necessary product development steps. Finally, you put the product on the market. Here, your time to market will be considered as the amount of time it takes from inception to the time that the product is finally launched into the market.
Time to market is one of the most fundamental metrics for all teams from product development to marketing and even sales. That is because new entrants to any market will always have a better chance of establishing themselves as the authority and getting more leads. For this reason, the product strategy of many companies is based on being the first to market a product.
But is time to market just about being the fastest?
As a matter of fact, no. There are different types of time to market. This will vary depending on the specific element of cycle time to be optimized.
Let’s take a look at these types.
Types of time to market
- Speed: This is actually the type of TTM that comes to mind when talking about time to market. In this type, you focus entirely on getting to the market as quickly as possible. In industries like tech, where customers are constantly exposed to new features, it’s vital to pay attention to speed. For example, if your product is a mobile phone, being the first to market a phone with those features is often everything.
- Agility: This type focuses on changing or improving product features faster. With this approach, you establish a clear connection with your target audience. With feedback from them, you can make the necessary improvements without affecting the launch date.
- Predictability: Sometimes it’s not how quickly you get the product to market that matters, but how much you stick to the plan. It is critical to benefit from this type, especially in seasonal product launches. For example, you don’t want to launch a Christmas-themed product in February. It should, regardless, make it to Christmas.
Why is time to market important?
Improving the time to market gives you an edge in today’s fast-paced and competitive business world. If your TTM is too long, competitors may have captured and dominated the market by the time your product finally enters the market. The more you improve your TTM, the more likely you will achieve your targeted product success.
On the other hand, by speeding up TTM, you can:
- Increase revenue: the sooner you get your product or service to market, the sooner you may begin generating revenue.
- Lower expenses: in many circumstances, the shorter the time it takes to get a product to market, the less money you will spend on development. This reduces expenses and increases the product’s profitability.
- Increase potential market share: If customers do not have another option, the potential market share your company can obtain is more significant.
For these reasons, you need to consider reducing your TTM to seize opportunities as soon as they emerge. This assists your organization in gaining a foothold in the industry.
How do you measure time to market?
As you can imagine, time to market in time units. That said, measuring it is not what is complicated in TTM. You can easily track the time elapsed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. The main thing to take into consideration when measuring time to market is correctly determining the start and end times.
Often, companies start to measure the time to market once the team and budget are approved. However, your product team may have started preliminary work weeks before the budget is approved. The opposite is also true. It can take weeks for your team to complete other work and start the project after the project is approved.
Therefore, to accurately measure TTM, you should clearly define what the start and end of the project are so that it’s easier to streamline everything from measurement to post-launch analysis.
Another thing to consider when measuring TTM is comparing your project with similar ones—comparing your TTM to an industry with a much more complex or faster product development process than yours will lead you to false conclusions. Product X may require much more resources. Therefore, it may have taken them much longer to launch the product. In such a case, you cannot deduce that product A you have developed is successful. So, you have to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples.
Best practices to reduce time to market in product development
Let’s say you measure time to market. And you ran into a much longer duration than you intended. What do you need to do to shorten this time?
Here are some tips for you.
Use a minimum viable product (MVP)
MVP is one of the easiest ways to enter a market quickly. It offers your customers a version of your product that offers a reasonable amount of features but isn’t laden with additional capabilities that you could probably do without. It allows you to show them what problem you are working to solve and how you did it. In this way, you can inform your customers as soon as possible about the value you will offer with your product.
Continuously measure the process
One of the best ways to get as short a time to market as possible is to review all your processes so far. What gave you momentum? In which phases did you linger the most? Were there any processes that you wasted time on unnecessarily? Constantly measure your progress with these and similar questions. Based on these measurements, you can make the necessary evaluations and improvements.
Flexibility is the key
Nothing ever goes perfectly and according to plan. Disruptions and changes in the project are also a natural part of the process. Taking a flexible approach will help you get through this whole “unplanned chain of events” faster. You react more quickly to change and prevent TTV from slowing down.
Proactive risk management
If risks are not managed effectively, they have the power to elongate the process unnecessarily. Before starting the project, you should identify possible risks and decide what you will do to reduce them. Minimizing risks often means minimizing time required in development and marketing as well.
Can agile development reduce time to market?
Agile development is one of the methodologies that will help you reduce TTM.
Why, you ask?
To reduce TTM and speed up the product development process, you must bring your product idea to life and bring it to market as soon as possible. Then you should listen to your customer’s feedback and improve your product accordingly. The scrum approach in the agile methodology allows you to perform all these stages in the most effortless way possible.
Teams are usually small in agile applications. In this way, the team can easily communicate and collaborate effortlessly. In addition, each team has a customer representative. This representative frequently meets with teams and responds to product development changes. All these efforts in agile applications ensure that everything runs smoothly in the project. It supports the immediate action of the relevant team members in case of a possible problem. Thus, it helps the process to proceed smoothly and quickly.
Track your marketing data with HockeyStack
I mentioned earlier that there are many factors to consider when optimizing time to market. You must constantly measure the entire process and identify risks beforehand. On top of that, you should track the process of launching your MVP and collect user feedback. Managing all this without using a powerful analytics tool like HockeyStack can be challenging.
So what is HockeyStack, and how does it make it easy for you to overcome these challenges?
HockeyStack is a code-free SaaS analytics and attribution tool. With HockeyStack, you can consolidate all your marketing, sales and product data into a single dashboard or report. So, you can quickly analyze everything from top-performing marketing channels to the impact of internal links on conversions.
HockeyStack is easy to use and will only take five minutes to set up. It has built-in visualization capabilities that allow you to create comprehensive dashboards easily.
With HockeyStack, you can learn the best consumer categories with one click and adjust your marketing process accordingly. You can also create funnels in less than 30 seconds and analyze every step of your funnel. So you can notice problems and risks on time.
To reduce TTM, the MVP process is just as vital as any other. After launching the MVP to the market, you should gather customer feedback. Then, you should evaluate all this feedback and guide your product development process.
And what is the most effortless and effective way to collect feedback?
HockeyStack allows you to create the right surveys for this process—and every other situation. This way, you can quickly determine what your customers think about your MVP and what they like and dislike.
With HockeyStack, you can also analyze survey results as if you were analyzing a funnel. You can also evaluate the responses of each segment separately. In this way, you can better examine the expectations and feedback of your users. You can also generate more meaningful insights and develop successful strategies to reduce time to market.
I can list the key agile practices that improve TTM as follows:
-Continuous integration and testing
There are many practices that can reduce TTM. The most important of them are:
– Adopting agile development
– Creating an MVP
– Anticipating risks
– Continuously measuring the process
– Being flexible