Modern business is very similar to sports – only the fastest and the strongest win the day (and get multi-million dollar contracts).
Since we already have a bunch of articles about how to grow a successful and sustainable business, we've decided to dedicate this article to another critical aspect – time to market.
What is time to market (TTM)?
The definition may vary depending on your product category. For software and other digital products, time to market is the time period from the start of development to the acquisition of your first user. Or, in other words, from idea to first release.
Why is time to market important?
The idea is quite simple: To capture user attention and maximize your profit, you need to be either the best or the first (it’s better if you can be both).
To get a clearer view of how TTM is connected to a company's revenue, let's look at the graph.
Here are the key takeaways:
- Expenses are not always connected to TTM. The cost of development can be both higher or lower with shorter TTM.
- A shorter TTM helps you pioneer the market and become the niche leader.
- A shorter TTM is often associated with higher revenue and profits.
The rule also works in the opposite direction. Companies lose financially when they don’t meet their time-to-market goals. According to McKinsey & Co., products that are six months late to market, earn 33% less profit for their creators over five years; if they are released on time, but are 50% over budget, the loss is only about 4%.
Another study by Green Hills Software found that the first released product occupies up to 70% of a market niche, while later versions can expect to obtain only 20%.
How to minimize time to market: 6 tips by Intersog
There are dozens of methods for doing this. In our cheat sheet, we've collected 6 that are regularly used by our team and have proven to be effective.
Plan and validate your product ideas as early as possible.
This means you should get a clear vision of what you want to get before you start. Hold ideation and requirements sessions, discuss your ideas with stakeholders, analyze their business values, validate implementability with the development team, and select the key features you want to implement in your first release version.
We’ve got a detailed article to assist you in this stage. Learn 11 effective methods to prioritize features for your MVP and select the one that suits you the best.
Some people think prototyping is a waste of time. If you’re one of them, please, please, please, reconsider. Prototyping requires some effort in the beginning, but in the end, it saves your company a great amount of time and money (due to the 1:10:100 rule). You can learn how prototyping helps you deliver better products faster in our article
Another reason we suggest creating a prototype is that it helps you and other stakeholders stay on the same page and share the same vision for your product development.
And, it’s true, the prototype turns into code and design much faster than documentation.
Start with MVP. It’s an ultimate rule for reducing your TTM. Launch with only core features, get your first clients, gather feedback, and evolve further. Don’t concentrate on implementing non-essential functionalities in initial stages. When time is worth gold, such experiments may cost you pioneer status.
But remember, MVP is not a prototype. The product should be functional and provide value.
Check out a related article:
Prioritize It: 11 Methods to Select Features for Your MVP
Concentrate on core projects.
You may be running many projects simultaneously, with your specialists shifting from task to task. Now is the time to prioritize them.
If you want to launch one special project as fast as possible, free your teammates from non-essential jobs and help them dedicate all their time to the special project.
Involve different specialists.
Don’t think you alone know everything about market needs, user psychology, technology trends, and sales techniques. Such misguided belief can cost you your business. According to research, it’s a very common reason for startup failure: founders fail to detect what users truly need and, as a result, can’t satisfy this need.
The more diverse specialists you get involved in you product development, the more data you can collect about your users and the greater your chances of creating the next unicorn.
Standardize the workflow and make communication clear.
Chaos is good for physicists, maybe…but it’s not good for businesses. Standardized operations work better than moving by intuition. The same goes for your team.
Most people prefer clear tasks and responsibilities, transparent requirements, and communication without tricks and treats.
The work goes faster and is less stressful when each member of your team knows who to go tot with specific requests. If your team already works like a Swiss clock, don’t change it. If you see some sand grains in your mechanism, then remove them…carefully.
Don’t neglect infrastructure.
This is about both your software and your hardware. If your team needs a program or a device that can boost their productivity many fold, don’t try to save on this. Remember, time is our most valuable asset.
This also relates to your product. Make sure that you have enough server power to handle high loads and that all your third-party integrations are fully operational.
There’s much more to this; we simply can’t list everything here or the article would be too long. Each option may be good or bad for your case. The best solution is to implement methods one by one, starting with those you think are the most suitable for your team.
And one more method
If you have no experience managing your team to reach minimum TTM or simply doubt you can do it with the resources you have, you can always rely on those who have been doing this for over 15 years.
Yep, outsourcing development may also become a great solution for you. When cooperating with IT service providers, you receive not only a team of developers but also well-tuned processes that have been tested and refined on many other projects.
Contact our experts for recommendations on how to reduce TTM in your project or hire a team who will help you launch your MVP in the shortest time possible. We are here to help