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Time-to-Market (TTM): What Is It & How Can You Improve It?

Written by Minal Kiani | Reviewed by Mobeen Ali
Web illustrations by Storyset

According to a 2019 Gartner survey, only 11% of organizations are able to achieve 100% of their internal launch targets. Are you as surprised as I was upon seeing that figure? But it’s true, and it happens consistently within small and big organizations due to a lack of anticipation and planning. So let’s dive in.

Why is Time to Market?

Time-to-market (TTM) is a term used to describe the time it takes from the initial idea of the product to the final, finished product being put out in the market. This refers to anything from a marketing campaign, a product, a SaaS tool, or any other operational process.

Why is TTM important to your business?

In a fast-paced economy where there is always someone doing something similar to what you’re doing, it’s important to gain a competitive advantage over them. This advantage can be anything, but the most attainable is a faster TTM. If your TTM is too long, your competitors will push products to the market before you and reach potential customers before you get the chance. However, if you’re able to reduce your time to market, you can create more opportunities for yourself and create a competitive advantage for your business.

Why should you reduce your TTM?

In today’s product development environment, products and the technologies that they’re based on are constantly evolving. The number of competitors along with the market share that each of them holds is also changing. This means that your time to market, and finding ways to optimize your products are critical components that have a direct impact on your revenue.

The better control you have over your product development processes, the better you’ll be able to control and predict your time to market and get new technology out while it’s still new. Furthermore, launching a campaign or product faster will, per definition, give you more time on the market to generate revenue before the market matures and declines.
How can you improve your time to market?

How can you improve your time to market?

1. Have Well-Defined Workflows

To optimize your time to market, it’s important to first define all your workflows. This is a crucial point as it helps in avoiding delays and minimizing downtime during procedures.

So how do you do that? By using technology to your advantage. There are a lot of interconnected tasks that need to be accomplished to create a product successfully. By creating well-defined workflows, everyone understands exactly what is expected of them, removing hurdles and bottlenecks from the way. They can move forward with their work without depending on others and delaying any processes.

A crucial aspect of defining workflows includes documentation: tasks, timelines, resources, bottlenecks, potential hurdles, everything that you need your team to be aware of. By sharing these insights with everyone, you encourage your team to be more active throughout the process of creating the product, and allow them to think critically so they can make suggestions to improve things based on their experience.

A great way to streamline such information is through agile product development. By being agile, your team is able to conceptualize their work better and create smaller work units, called sprints, which allow them to lay out their tasks better.

You’re also able to create a backlog of all your work to help get a better picture of what still needs to be done before the product is released.

Better anticipation of the amount of work and resources needed to complete a project helps reduce TTM. By becoming more agile, your team also becomes more adaptive to changes along the process and becomes quicker to respond to any issues that arise.

2. Create Specific Product Roadmaps

Each product has different requirements in terms of resources, timelines, and costs. To cut down on TTM and make planning more accurate, you need to have development roadmaps for every type of product you create. A clear roadmap also helps you prioritize tasks effectively and provide visibility to the team.

By using project management platforms like Jira and Trello, you can easily set up new projects and keep a record of them for analytical purposes. Each task can be assigned to a specific member, or to multiple members of the team. Once completed, notification emails can be sent, allowing everyone to stay informed on the team’s progress.

Because these platforms allow you to keep track of different tasks, their current status, and timeline, you can identify similarities between different processes and refine your product roadmaps with each release.

3. Automate Processes

One of the most important parts of reducing your time to market is automating processes. We all know the burden of tedious tasks that just never end! While they’re causing headaches, they’re also increasing your time to market. These processes need to be automated immediately!

Depending on your operations, you can automate almost every function to reduce time on tasks that can be done faster through a tool. This way, you can focus on more important tasks, and ultimately reduce your time-to-market.

For example, if you want to automate the process of sending your product data to your stores, you can use tools like Apimio. Apimio helps you create complete digital product catalogs and publish them to your storefronts in one click. So instead of spending hours and hours editing data in spreadsheets, you can have your own cloud-based solution that lets you collaborate with your team to create better product experiences.

Third-party platforms like Zapier help you integrate services. You can create trigger emails rather than manually sending them out to each customer. It’s easier to manually email customers when you’re a small company. But once you’ve reached a certain number of customers, it becomes almost impossible to do this. Every bit of time that you save improves your time to market as the project moves along.

The more efficient you are with your daily tasks, the faster you can move towards creating your products and reducing your TTM. By automating repetitive tasks, you free up a huge chunk of time that would otherwise cause delays in your work. It also allows team members to focus on more complex tasks that may not be automated.

4. Set Achievable Goals & KPIs

You can only achieve a reduced time to market for your products if you set realistic goals for your time. By setting goals and key performance indicators (KPIs), you create a clear path for your team.

At the end of each product release, you should analyze your goals and KPIs and refine them if necessary.

5. Assess the Cost of Delay

There are three major delay costs:

  • The estimated revenue loss for each day your release is delayed;
  • Cost to employ the project team for each day of delay;
  • Cost of lost opportunities during the delay period because resources aren’t available for new projects.

These metrics can help improve your team’s performance. No team wants costs associated with project delays to be visible, but you have to be very careful with such measurements. If you’re not careful, you might end up damaging your team’s credibility and motivation by pointing out things that aren’t in their control.

Written by Minal Kiani

Minal Kiani is a Content Marketing Specialist at Apimio Inc. She's an expert writer in Business and Product Information Management.

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