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What Is Time to Market and Why Is It Important for Growing Companies

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What Is Time to Market and Why Is It Important for Growing Companies
Author: DuploCloud | Wednesday, March 22 2023

Knowing your project’s time to market deadlines can help you better set development priorities and manage resources

They say time is money, and this is especially true when launching a product in a rapidly-evolving market. Startups and small businesses are especially under pressure to deliver results for investors and must juggle their demands for speed, implementing features, guaranteeing security, and maintaining compliance.

Companies rely on the “time to market” (TTM) metric to address these often conflicting demands. It allows teams to provide stakeholders with an estimated project timeline while giving developers a sense of how that timeline will be affected when adding or removing features. If you’ve ever wondered “what is time to market” and how to improve timelines without sacrificing quality, read on.

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What Is Time to Market?

Why Is Time to Market Important?

Reasons for Measuring and Improving Time to Market

Tools to Improve Time to Market

Speed Up Time to Market By a Factor of Ten with DuploCloud

What Is Time to Market?

Time to market is a performance metric defined as the total amount of time it takes to bring a product to the market, from initial planning and development phases to its eventual release. 

TTM measurements can vary based on the industry, business, and even by individual products, as each will have its own standards that determine essential areas for tracking time. Some companies may want to wait until after the “fuzzy front end” portion of development — where approvals and staffing are still in flux — to track TTM. Others, like software development companies, will include this portion in TTM measurements, as it can consume a great deal of time and resources.

Teams can apply TTM to entire product development cycles or use it to measure time for individual features, upgrades, and even marketing campaigns. 

Why Is Time to Market Important?

Monitoring TTM ensures operational health and sustainability as organizations compete with other businesses offering similar products. For startups (especially those in the software industry), TTM is the lifeblood of the operation, often marking the difference between keeping the lights on and shutting down for good.

According to a McKinsey study, businesses that arrive to market six months late will lose 33% of their after-tax profit on average compared to other organizations. In fact, TTM is so important that the same study showed that organizations that overspend 50% on development yet arrive to market on time only see losses of 3.5%.

Think of it like compound interest: If you invest your money too late, you’re missing out on all the time your money could have generated interest for you. It’s the same with launching a product, only now other businesses have beaten you to the punch and are making the profits that could have gone to your organization.

That’s not to say TTM should supersede quality control or involve skipping steps in your organization’s project management structure. Skipping steps to focus solely on speeding up product development can drastically increase TTM as organizations struggle to fix bugs or add additional steps to solve problems introduced by rushed schedules.

Many businesses integrate tools into their workflows to automate menial and repetitive tasks to reduce TTM while maintaining quality. For cloud-native application development, DuploCloud can help development teams speed up deployment times by a factor of 10 versus having to write thousands of lines of infrastructure-as-code to provision cloud-native applications, get out-of-the-box security and compliance checks, and reduce cloud operating costs by 70%.

No-code/low-code solutions are becoming universal. In our survey of 300 engineering leaders, we found that no-code/low-code cloud automation adoption is expected to hit >90% by 2025. Learn more with your free copy:

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Reasons for Measuring and Improving Time to Market

Tracking and improving your organization’s TTM in ways that align with your organization’s strategy are crucial. There are several reasons why a business should monitor its TTM, which include:

  • Beating the competition to market: For many companies, especially startups, being first to market is paramount to ensuring the viability of a product — or even the entire business model. 
  • Launching during the market window: Being fast isn’t always the best tactic. Sometimes there’s an optimal release window (such as during the fall to take advantage of holiday consumer traffic) that will enable your organization to maximize profits. Release too early or too late, and your product will never realize its full potential.
  • Staying competitive: Adapting to customer feedback or broader market trends enables teams to meet the market where it is while anticipating its future demands. Managing TTM will ensure your business stays agile while continuing to meet product deadlines and stakeholder expectations.
  • Making predictable schedules: When estimating a project’s TTM, project managers will include timelines like approvals processes, development schedules, testing, marketing, and so on. Even if speed isn’t the ultimate goal, measuring TTM ensures project managers set appropriate deadlines to reduce unforeseen delays or outcomes.
  • Controlling costs: Depending on the business or scale of your project, faster TTM outcomes may require hiring additional employees, paying for overtime, and other hidden costs. Slower TTM expectations may be worth the financial tradeoff.
  • Managing scope: Everyone wants their products to be as feature-rich as possible, but some features will take longer to design and build than others. Teams must weigh the importance of each feature against its impact on TTM to determine what makes the cut.

Tools to Improve Time to Market

Optimizing TTM requires a considered approach to project management and development. While specific resource implementation will differ depending on the industry or business, these are some areas to consider that will aid in shaving off additional development time:

  • Automation: No matter the job, there are likely dozens of routine tasks with highly predictable outcomes that teams could automate to speed up a project’s time to market. And there’s a good chance that a tool or service is available to automate those tasks for you. For example, DuploCloud enables cloud-native developers to automate infrastructure provisioning, vastly speeding up deployment times compared to implementing configurations and writing code by hand.
  • Project management: Building a project roadmap isn’t just about setting expectations for customers or stakeholders — it’s to help teams visualize the tasks necessary to reach your TTM milestones. Tools like Trello and Jira give teams a single source of truth, provide visibility into concrete deliverables, and make resource allocation and collaboration easier.
  • Outsourcing: SMBs and startups must provide a quality product to compete with larger enterprises, even when operating with fewer resources. Outsourcing tasks outside your current organization’s bandwidth — such as quality assurance, marketing, or other vital departments — enables your team to focus on the problems it knows how to solve.

Speed Up Time to Market By a Factor of Ten With DuploCloud

At DuploCloud, we understand the pressures startups and SMBs face when bringing products to market. You want to be fast, but you also need to ensure your product remains secure and compliant while operating within your budget and time constraints.

DuploCloud can help. It enables software developers to automate large portions of cloud deployment infrastructure, reducing the time and effort needed to build world-class software at scale. Read our whitepaper, and discover how DuploCloud’s No-Code/Low-Code DevOps platform enables teams to deploy ten times faster versus having to write thousands of lines of infrastructure-as-code to provision the cloud-native application.

Author: DuploCloud | Wednesday, March 22 2023