13 Ways to Accelerate Time to Market (& Why It Matters)

May 4, 2023

Time to market is crucial for businesses looking to stay competitive and relevant, as it can increase potential market share, reduce business costs, and boost revenue.

However, accelerating the time to market is easier said than done.

That's why around 95% of new products miss the mark.

Such failures can be detrimental and even lead to your company shutting down - especially if you’re a small business.

That’s because, the longer it takes to launch a new product or service, the more likely it is that competitors will beat you to it.

Fortunately, there are ways to accelerate a product’s time to market, and we’re here to tell you all about them.

Read on to learn about some of the most effective ways to speed up time to market and understand why it matters so much in today's business landscape.

What Is Time to Market?

Time to market (TTM) refers to the time it takes to develop, produce, launch, and sell a product.  

For example, let's say a company has identified a gap in the market for a smartphone with a longer battery life. They believe they can develop and launch this product faster than their competitors.

In this case, the time to market begins the moment this idea is conceptualized and ends the moment the company's first smartphone is launched and sold.

The definition sounds simple, but accelerating time to market can definitely get complex. This is because several factors can impact a product’s time to market, including:

  • Product complexity: The more complex a product is, the longer it takes to develop and launch.
  • Product design quality: A well-designed product may take less time to develop and produce.
  • Resource availability: A lack of necessary resources like funding, equipment, and skilled labor can delay a product's launch.
  • Regulatory requirements: Meeting regulatory requirements, such as safety and environmental standards, can prolong the product launch timeline.
  • Efficiency of development and production processes: Streamlining development and production processes can significantly reduce time to market.
  • Supply chain management: Efficient management of the supply chain, from raw materials to finished products, is essential for a timely product launch.
  • Collaboration: Effective communication and collaboration among team members, suppliers, and partners can improve time to market by eliminating unnecessary delays.

That said, you shouldn’t compromise the quality of your product just to accelerate the time to market.

Many brands end up cutting down important features and compromising on quality to speed up the time to market. But if you do so, it will only work against you in the long run, because the product will likely disappoint your customers and lead to less sales.

Why Is Accelerating Time to Market Important?

With technological advancements and the ever-increasing pace of innovation, customers' demands are changing drastically.

In fact, 62% of consumers say their experiences with one company or industry can change their expectations of other businesses.

When you accelerate time to market, you can better cope with changing customer demands, preferences, and behavior.

This enables you to stay ahead of the competition and capture market share.

Reducing time to market also gives you a first-mover advantage in the form of early adopters. This can help you increase revenue while minimizing losses.

For example, let's say that a company develops a new smartphone with cutting-edge features that they believe will be highly appealing to consumers.

If it takes the company too long to bring the product to market, competitors may release similar products, or consumers may lose interest in the technology altogether.

However, if the company can accelerate the time to market, it can release the smartphone ahead of its competitors and capitalize on the enthusiasm of early adopters. This can lead to increased sales, higher market share, and a stronger brand reputation as a leader in innovation.

Another reason to speed up time to market is to leverage its benefits. Quick time to market can offer a plethora of benefits, such as:

  • Competitive advantage: If you can market your products faster than your competitors, you can capture market share and establish yourself as a leader in the industry.
  • Revenue generation: The faster a product launches, the sooner you can generate revenue.
  • Cost savings: By accelerating time to market, you can save on development costs, reduce overheads, and minimize the risk of cost overruns, ultimately reducing the cost of your software development.
  • Innovation: With quick product launches, you can get customer feedback and use it to improve your products and create new, innovative ones.

How Do You Measure Time to Market?

You might know that it is vital to reduce time to market, but how will you do that if you don't know how to measure it in the first place? Only by measuring time to market can you identify areas for improvement and accelerate the product development process.

You can consider several key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure time to market. For instance, product development cycle time is an important KPI that measures the time it takes to develop a product from concept to launch.

You can track the time to market in different ways. Some businesses start as soon as they approve an idea for development. Some others start counting the time from when they formed the product development team.

Regardless of your method, here are some steps you can take to measure time to market:

  • Define the starting point: The starting point for time to market should be clearly defined. It could be when a product idea is conceived, or the development process begins.
  • Track development milestones: Breaking down the development process into milestones can help measure market time. These milestones could include design, development, testing, and launch.
  • Conduct customer feedback: Getting customer feedback on the product or service can provide insights into how well the product has been received in the market and can be used to evaluate the time to market.
  • Compare to competitors: Comparing the time to market with competitors can provide a benchmark and help identify areas for improvement.
  • Analyze data: Collecting and analyzing data on the time taken to complete each development stage can help identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement.

13 Ways to Accelerate a Product's Time to Market

There's no denying that time to market is a crucial factor in defining the success of your products and your business as a whole.

Here are some ways to accelerate time to market and gain a competitive advantage:

#1. Increase Resource Commitment

The easiest way to reduce the time to market software products or any other technology-based products is to commit more resources.

You can do this by increasing the number of developers, testers, and designers involved in your project. Or, you could dedicate all the necessary resources and budget to a specific project where time to market is a priority.

More resources mean you’ll have the flexibility to switch between important tasks to complete them at an optimal speed. This can enable your product team and other associated teams to work on multiple tasks simultaneously, which can allow them to complete the project quickly.

The next step is ensuring that these new or existing team members are efficient and productive. This may require additional training or mentorship from experienced colleagues who have previously worked on similar projects.

Finally, if adding more people isn't feasible for your company at the moment, try adding more machines!

For example, adding one more computer would allow a team member to multi-task and run more tests daily with less waiting time between them.

#2. Improve Workflow

Another easy way to speed up time to market is by improving workflow.

To do this, you must ensure you have the right people on the team for this. It's important to have diverse people with different backgrounds and skill sets who can bring their perspectives to bear on problems.

With the right team, you can get quick solutions for any bottlenecks you face in speeding up the time to market. This can help streamline the workflow to remove unnecessary steps, resulting in faster turnaround times and reduced errors.

By improving workflow, you can also create faster feedback loops, which can help your teams identify and resolve issues more quickly, preventing costly delays in the product development process.

#3. Leverage Agile Development Methodologies

Agile development is a set of principles for software development that emphasizes collaboration and communication. Agile methods are iterative, with each cycle delivering working software to the customer at the end of each iteration.

This lightweight approach to project management ensures that products are delivered faster than traditional waterfall processes while maintaining quality standards through frequent testing cycles and user feedback loops.

Agile methodologies can accelerate time to market in several ways, such as:

  • Continuous delivery: Agile development encourages continuous delivery, which enables teams to get feedback on their work early and often and make necessary changes quickly, speeding up the development process.
  • Cross-functional teams: Agile development process involves building cross-functional teams with different expertise and backgrounds. This allows product teams to work collaboratively and reduce time to market.
  • Agile project management: Agile development methodologies use project management techniques like sprints, daily standups, and retrospectives. These techniques help teams to stay focused and organized and work in a structured way, which can help speed up the development process.

Because of these very benefits, around 71% of US companies use agile methodology today for accelerating software delivery.

#4. Automate Development Process

Machines can certainly operate at superhuman speed, which makes automating your development process a great way to accelerate time to market.

With automation, you can reduce the time and effort required for repetitive, time-consuming tasks such as testing, deployment, and configuration management.

Automating the development process can help you with the following:

  • Automated testing: You can automate your application's tests, making it easier to run them whenever you want. You can also use test automation to ensure new features and bug fixes don't break existing code.
  • Automated deployment: Once you've created an automated build, you can deploy your application automatically after each commit or push to version control. This ensures that no human errors are made during the deployment process. It also avoids delays from waiting on a developer to manually deploy things correctly.
  • DevOps toolchains: Automation can help to streamline the DevOps toolchain by automating tasks such as code reviews, code merging, and issue tracking. This allows developers to reduce manual effort and focus on delivering value to customers. Around 90% of business leaders cite DevOps as a top strategic priority in software product development.

Automation development is on the rise as more and more software development companies adopt it. Per a GitLab survey, 90% of companies use build automation. You, too, can use this to accelerate your time to market.

#5. Test Product's Viability With an MVP

An MVP (minimum viable product) is a product that has just enough features to satisfy early customers with the potential to add more features in later versions.

Basically, an MVP is a great way to test the viability of your idea before you invest too much time and money into it.

An MVP takes less than half the time it takes to build a complete application. This means you'll be able to get feedback from real users sooner than later, and that can save you from wasting time building something nobody wants!

Even though it has fewer features, an MVP can get consumers to consider you a pioneer in catering to their problems.

You should always start with MVP development when testing your SaaS ideas because it helps you validate whether there's demand for what you're doing before investing heavily in development costs or launching something prematurely.

The cost of developing an MVP can vary based on many factors. Learn about MVP cost here.

#6. Reduce Scope by Trading Off Features

Another way to reduce time to market is by trading off features. This involves prioritizing features that should be a part of the end product from the ones that can be removed.

To implement this strategy effectively, you will need to clearly understand your customer's needs and the core value proposition of your product or service.

There might be scenarios where you might get confused about what features to prioritize. For instance, while building a project management tool, time tracking, and feedback management are both secondary features. It can be challenging to decide which feature to prioritize here.

Luckily, there are different prioritization frameworks you can use if you can't decide which features to prioritize, such as:

  • Weighted Scoring: Assigning scores to each feature and multiplying it by the weight value to prioritize which feature to work on first.
  • RICE Method: Prioritizing features based on their reach, impact, confidence, and effort required to implement them.
  • Value Vs. Effort: Evaluating features based on their value compared to the effort required to implement them.
  • Kano Model: Categorizing features into three types (must-have, performance, and delighters) based on their impact on customer satisfaction.
  • Story Mapping: Visualizing the user journey and breaking down features into user stories to prioritize them based on their importance in achieving the desired outcome.

#7. Put Outsourcing to Your Use

Outsourcing is not just for big companies. Even small startups are leveraging outsourcing. According to a BusinessWire article, software development outsourcing is expected to grow 70% in 2023.

Whether you are looking to develop a SaaS mobile app or a web app, you can easily outsource the project to a custom software developer and speed up the time to market.

These software development firms will have the expertise, resources, and tools to reduce product development and launch time.

Looking for innovative SaaS ideas that will you give you a competitive edge? Our article has all you need.

#8. Build Market Segments for a Quick Product Launch

Another great way to accelerate time to market is for product managers to build market segments for every new product they launch. This allows them to prioritize features and ensure that the product is designed with the needs of their target audience in mind.

For example, if you're building a widget for working out, there are three potential target markets:

  • People who work out at home
  • People who work out at gyms
  • People who work out outdoors

By creating these market segments, the product team can prioritize the features that are most important to each segment and design the product accordingly.

Here’s how:

  • For the home workout segment: The team can prioritize features like ease of setup and compact size.
  • For the gym workout segment: The product team will prioritize features like durability and compatibility.
  • For the outdoor workout segment: The team will prioritize portability and resistance to weather conditions here

This can help the development team decide on the features quickly without wasting a lot of time on discussions and approval. The quick decision and feature prioritization can then help accelerate the product’s time to market.

Not to mention, this can give you a competitive advantage because around 42% of marketers don't segment.

#9. Develop Methods to Track Results Effectively

One of the most important things you can do to accelerate time to market is to develop methods that allow you to track results effectively.

This will make it easier for you and your team members to understand where you stand in relation to your goals and provide insight into what needs improvement to achieve those goals.

When it comes down to it, tracking results is all about knowing if your product development process is working or not and then making changes accordingly.

You want a system that allows for this kind of flexibility so that when something isn't working out as planned, there's room within the system to make adjustments without having everything fall apart completely.

#10. Implement a Proactive Risk Management Plan

Risk management is identifying and reducing risk to a level that’s acceptable to the organization. A proactive risk management plan can help you identify risks before they become problems. This can help avoid costly delays in product development or even losing money on your investment.

The following are some common risks that you can manage proactively:

  • Budgetary constraints: If there's not enough money available for a project, you need to bring down your budget. The best way around this is by planning or asking for additional funding before starting work on your project.
  • Scope creep: Scope creep refers to changes in requirements during development which result in additional costs without adding value for customers or users.

Having a risk management plan will reduce obstacles in your path, helping you accelerate time to market.

For example, a lack of funds can lead to production delays, resulting in slower time to market. But if you have a risk management plan for budget issues in place, this will not hinder your schedule to a significant extent.

#11. Create a Product Roadmap

A product roadmap is a visual representation of your product that includes features, timelines, and responsibilities.

It helps you decide what features you can include in the launch version of your product based on the resources and time you have available before the launch.

A product roadmap helps you plan your development process to see how long each step will take and what will come next. You can also use it to ensure you're not wasting time on steps that aren't crucial to getting your product out the door.

#12. Accelerate Decision-Making

Product teams often face the challenge of deciding what to build next and how long it will take. They can get caught up in long meetings, debating each feature's value or prioritizing features based on riskiness without actually getting anything done.

To avoid this, you and product leaders need to make decisions as early as possible so the product team members can focus their energy on building those features instead of debating them!

That's why it is vital to accelerate decision-making and allow teams to work on building and launching SaaS products quickly.

#13. Improve Data Accessibility

Data accessibility is critical to accelerating time to market. Your product team will have difficulty making decisions if it can't access, customer data, market research data, usage data, and performance data, among others. the needed data, such as customer, market research, usage, and performance data.

Without access to data or the ability to analyze them, it will be harder to make decisions about products and develop them.

For a company's product development process to be fast and effective, everyone involved must be able to easily get their hands on relevant information at any given moment.

For instance, suppose a software company is developing a new feature for their product, and the product development team needs to analyze user behavior data. This data can help them determine which features are most used and which ones need improvement.

If this data is scattered across various systems and databases, it could take a lot of time and effort to gather and analyze it, delaying the decision-making process and the product development timeline.

7 Common Challenges to Accelerating Time to Market

Accelerating time to market is a critical goal for businesses that want to remain competitive and meet customer needs.

However, several challenges can hinder this process, including:

  • Complex product development: The more complex the product, the longer it takes to design, develop, and launch. Specifically, the increasing complexity of products due to changing customer expectations can cause delays.
  • Lack of collaboration: Teams must collaborate effectively to speed up product development. Poor communication and coordination between departments can lead to mistakes, rework, and delays.
  • Resource constraints: Limited resources when it comes to people, technology, and finances can slow product development. When resources are scarce, businesses must prioritize, leading to trade-offs and delays.
  • Regulatory hurdles: Products in certain industries must meet regulatory requirements, such as safety standards or environmental regulations. These regulations can cause delays in product development if not considered early on.
  • Market changes: Customers' needs and market conditions can change rapidly, leading to a need to pivot or change a product. These changes can cause delays if not incorporated efficiently into the SaaS development lifecycle.
  • Quality assurance: Quality assurance is vital to product development but can be time-consuming. Poor quality can lead to recalls, lost revenue, and damage to the brand's reputation.
  • Testing: Testing a product before launch is necessary to ensure its quality and functionality. However, the testing process can be time-consuming, and delays can occur if testing is not adequately planned.

9 Typical TMMs Across Companies

Total Manufacturing Margins (TMMs) can vary widely across industries due to differences in cost structures, demand dynamics, and competitive pressures. There's also variance in time to market for different products within the same industry.

For example, suppose you are developing a SaaS application. In that case, the time to market can vary depending on the complexity of the software, the SaaS development framework, the development methodology, and the competition in the market.

For instance, enterprise applications like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software will take a longer time to market than simple web app development.

The table below shows some typical TMMs for a few major industries:

Industry - Time to Market in Years

  • Aerospace & Defence - 3-22 years
  • Automobiles - 2-4 years
  • Energy - 7-23 years
  • Consumer electronics - 1-2 years
  • Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals - 9-19 years
  • Software - 0.5-2 years
  • Industrials - 3-7 years
  • Food & Beverage - 0.5-1 year
  • Construction - 1-3 years

Key Takeaways

Hopefully, you now have a better idea about how you can accelerate time to market, and why you should do so.

Before you start planning your strategy to reduce time to market during your SaaS product development, here are the key points we discussed in this article:

  • Accelerating time to market offers numerous benefits, including competitive advantage, lower costs, larger market share, etc., making it vital to get your product in the market as fast as possible.
  • There are multiple ways to speed up the time to market. You can try the different methods outlined in this article and see what works best for you.
  • You may face various challenges when trying to reduce time to market. Create a plan to overcome these challenges before you start bringing your product to life.

If you are looking to bring your software quickly to the market, Make IT Simple can help you with that. Our developers are experts when it comes to end-to-end software solutions, from app design to UI and development.

Contact us today, and we will ensure your software gets to the market as fast as possible.

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