The Organization Leader's Guide to Improving to Time to Market

Jan 20, 2020

For those unaware of time to market, here’s a clear definition. Time to market (TTM) refers to the time needed to develop a product, from its conception to when it’s ready to be launched on the market. A shorter TTM focuses on releasing a product as fast as possible. However, TTM is also concerned with releasing subsequent updates in short time intervals. Often, this means an organization works through small product increments.

Due to an increasingly competitive environment, many companies experience product development as a race. Product development has become a race to release your product as fast as possible before the competition does. This race requires new techniques and improved processes to speed up the TTM. It’s important to evaluate your value streams in order to optimize the most core tasks that lead to quick progress.

Almost every company has access to the best talent in the world. Any company can hire top engineers to develop their product. Therefore, the only way to make a difference and be faster is by improving processes.

This post will explain how you can increase the time to market in your organization. We’ll take a look at value streams and how they are key to improving processes. First, let’s learn why an improved TTM is important for your organization.

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Benefits of Improved Time to Market (TTM)

Currently, companies find themselves in a race to bring their product to the market as fast as possible. It has become increasingly more difficult due to technological improvements to be the fastest, although being the fastest brings many benefits for your product. Let’s learn about the advantages of improved TTM.

  1. TTM is often seen as an important metric for the success of a new product. Being able to launch a product before your competition will bring in many new clients who want to be the first to experiment with a new product or technology.

  2. Often, a product that is launched faster to the market can be priced higher. This means more revenue can be made from a product in its early phase.

  3. Besides launching a product faster, TTM also implies that you stay ahead of the competition. You can start building new products while they’re still working on older services that you’ve already implemented.

  4. Increase customer satisfaction. Customers are able to try out new products faster and improve their own value streams using your product.

  5. Faster feedback. As mentioned, by reducing the time to market, customers can try out the product sooner. This means they can provide you with feedback that allows you to further improve your product. Besides this, customers can also request new features they would like to use.

The Importance of Value Streams

In order to reduce the TTM, it’s key to understand the current processes. A recommended technique is to map value streams. A value stream defines the key activities that must happen to go from idea to end product. For example, the design team creates mock-ups, the test panel tries out prototypes, and the development team implements the minimum viable product.

By mapping out those values streams that contribute to the creation of the product, we can find inefficient processes. We can also improve processes or establish asynchronous processes to speed up TTM.

To gain a deeper understanding, measuring those processes is important. Metrics help you to effectively collect data about each step of your value stream. It might be worth checking how long it takes to receive feedback from the test panel or how many weeks it requires to develop a minimum viable product.

Next, let’s take a look at some tips to decrease TTM.

Do you want to learn more about value streams and how they help to improve time to market? Visit Plutora’s reports about creating an effective value stream.

7 Ways to Improve Time to Market

Here’s a list of seven ways to reduce the time needed to bring your product to the market.

1. Remove All Inefficiencies

This tip might sound very generic. However, take a look at your weekly tasks and meetings. Try to find meetings that are inefficient or unproductive. Let’s say you have a weekly meeting to discuss problems or evaluate results. Some weeks, no problems occur so you just spend time discussing other things. This is a classic example of inefficiencies during your daily tasks.

A golden tip: Try to reduce the number of meetings to the minimum. On top of that, only invite team members who can add value during the meeting. Often, you might find the whole team is invited when only a quarter of the team is able to provide input.

2. Automation Is Key

It’s simple—automation reduces the time employees spend on certain tasks. Your organization should adopt new tools and technologies to create more efficient processes. For example, your design team can use a tool that helps with creating digital prototypes that can be presented to the test team. Certain tools allow you to create clickable mock-ups that act as a minimum viable product.

3. Continue Education and Improve Skills

Education plays a key role in improving your time to market. You can either choose to better educate your employees or allow them to take courses to improve their skills. A more skilled, knowledgeable employee can add more value to your organization.

On the other hand, you can also opt to invest in better education about your internal processes. Employees who better understand the different processes in your organization can help with improving processes or become more efficient.

4. Document Processes

Besides education, it’s important to document processes. A well-documented process forms the basis of education. Besides this, the documented process acts as an ideal fallback mechanism. In case something goes wrong and you want to validate the output of a certain process, you can compare the actual output with the expected output described in the documentation.

In order to quickly onboard new employees, documentation is key. It helps them to swiftly understand the different processes and become productive.

5. Prototype to Try Out Concepts

Never spend all your efforts on developing a new product before validating the concept. Therefore, prototyping is an ideal methodology to try out different versions of your product.

It’s a low-cost technique to try out new concepts quickly. Your team doesn’t need to develop the full concept as that requires a lot of resources and time. Prototyping allows your company to save a lot of time and end up with the best version of your product. You can even present your test panel with different prototypes to find the best solution.

Product flow - Improve time to market

Prototyping fits under the ideation category as shown in the diagram.
The next logical step is the creation of the actual product.

That being said, prototyping is key for improving time to market! It allows you to reduce the time to value.

6. Foster Innovation as Part of Your Organization

Innovation should be a natural element of your organization. Innovation means taking small risks. However, small risks aren’t necessarily a bad thing. They can foster innovation. Moreover, innovation helps your company to stand out from the competition.

When your organization takes risks, you can play with innovative technologies or methodologies that help improve processes. Therefore, innovation is a key ingredient to improve TTM.

7. Standardization Allows for Efficiency

Standardization allows you to formally define processes. Therefore, a standardized process is more efficient. It’s recommended to try to standardize as many processes as possible. When a process isn’t standardized, you lose time thinking about how you want to do things or which steps to take to reach the expected output.

A standardized process removes this thought process and allows a team to just follow the standards that have been set. Besides that, a standardized process allows you to set expected results.

At the end of your process, you can compare the existing output to the expected output. It’s an easy way to measure the quality of your output and if your output meets the expectations. Therefore, standardization allows you to create higher-quality output efficiently.

Keep Learning to Optimize Time to Market

In conclusion, many elements matter when it comes to improving time to market. Other elements worth researching are outsourcing, adopting an agile methodology, or creating streamlined information flows. I hope this post helps your organization with improving important tasks of your value stream to optimize time to market.

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