February 26, 2024

The Hidden Costs of Delayed Product Releases


Software development is a non-stop, never-ending race against the clock. Teams need to quickly ship new products and features to satisfy user demands and stay ahead of the competition.

Aggressive production deadlines are common, and not surprising, so are delays.

Just 55 percent of product leaders shipped their products on time, according to a 2019 survey conducted by Gartner. The 45 percent that experienced a delayed product release missed their planned launch date by a month or more.

Why Are Missed Deadlines Important?

With delayed product launches so common, it can be easy to dismiss them as a minor hiccup in the larger scheme of things. However, a missed product launch can kick off a cascade of negative consequences that can lead to lost revenue, tarnished reputation and demoralized employees.

A delayed product is almost instantly at risk for missing its targets, whether it's utilization, revenue or conversion-oriented metrics. Gartner reports that delayed products hit just 20 percent of their internal goals.

Lost revenue is the primary concern, of course, as delays can mean missing crucial market windows, especially for seasonal or time-sensitive products. Additionally, the need to reschedule marketing campaigns often leads to increased marketing costs. There's also the risk of a negative impact on stock prices and investor confidence.

Operationally, a delayed launch extends the development phase and prevents that team from moving on to their next initiative.

On the human side of the business, extended projects can adversely affect employee morale. The pressure of pushing back deadlines can lead to staff burnout and reduced productivity. Additionally, the company's reputation might suffer, both externally among consumers and internally among employees, potentially impacting future recruitment, retention and overall company culture.

How do you prevent product launch delays from happening?

It Starts With Comprehensive — and Realistic — Launch Planning

If the hidden costs of missed deadlines are the problem, comprehensive and realistic planning is the solution.

However, setting product launch timelines is about more than just picking a date in the future. It’s about identifying potential risks and preparing for them. Challenges such as changing requirements, feature creep and bugs can throw a wrench in the works if not anticipated.

When creating your roadmap, what are the potential pitfalls that could arise and how can your team be ready to tackle them if they do? For example, if scope creep is a potential risk, you should freeze product features at a designated point.

Collaborate Throughout the Product Development Lifecycle

The next most critical aspect of the product launch timeline is open and active collaboration among stakeholders — everyone from product to engineering, design, sales, finance, customer success and the customer themselves.

When team members openly share information, they can identify and address potential roadblocks early, preventing small issues from escalating into major setbacks.

Collaboration, particularly in cross-functional teams, is essential for leveraging diverse skills and perspectives. It encourages creative problem-solving and innovative thinking, which are key in overcoming complex challenges during product development. Collaborative teams can more effectively distribute workloads, align their efforts with the project timeline and maintain a steady pace of progress. This synergy is especially important in agile development environments where adaptability and quick decision-making are paramount.

Open communication and collaboration build a sense of community and shared purpose among everyone involved.

Conversely, a top-down approach to communication can be disastrous. When product launch dates are dictated and feedback can't trickle up to leadership, this can introduce issues with everything from delays to bugs, errors and missed features.

Use Agile Methodologies for Rapid Iteration

While we've discussed how your approach to planning and communication can help drive a successful product launch, it's important to mention your development methodology.

Agile methodology and Rapid Application Development (RAD) are two of the most common methodologies used today.

Agile, with its iterative and incremental approach, allows teams to work in sprints, focusing on delivering small, manageable chunks of the product. This approach enables frequent reassessment and adaptation, making it easier to incorporate changes and feedback without significant setbacks. Regular reviews and updates ensure that the project stays on track and aligns with the customer's needs and market trends.

RAD, on the other hand, emphasizes rapid prototyping over lengthy planning. By quickly developing prototypes, teams can gather user feedback early and continuously, allowing for immediate refinements. This approach reduces the time spent on revisions later in the development process. RAD's focus on speed and user-centric design helps in delivering functional products in a shorter time frame, increasing the likelihood of meeting launch deadlines.

Follow the Metrics That Matter

Productivity metrics can provide insights into your team's progress towards its launch. To avoid fatiguing yourself with too many metrics, it's important to pick a few that are more critical to your business strategy.

Some of the most popular today are:

  1. Cycle Time - This measures the time taken to complete a task from start to finish. Monitoring cycle time helps in identifying bottlenecks in the development process and improving efficiency.
  2. Lead Time - Lead time tracks the duration from the moment a task is conceived until it's completed. It’s crucial for understanding the overall time taken for features to move from the backlog to production.
  3. Velocity - This metric tracks the amount of work a team completes in a sprint. It's used for planning and forecasting future sprints, ensuring that teams commit to a realistic and achievable workload.
  4. Code Churn - Code churn measures how often the codebase changes. High churn rates close to deadlines can indicate instability and the potential for delays.
  5. Defect Escape Rate - This measures the number of defects discovered after a release versus those found during testing. Lower rates suggest higher quality and stability, reducing the likelihood of delays caused by late-stage bug fixes.

By closely monitoring these metrics, teams can identify problems early, adjust their strategies, and stay on track to meet their software production deadlines.

Accelerate Your Development With the Right Technology

Lastly, the technology you use can make all the difference. That’s where 8base comes in. 8base is utilized by developers to accelerate the development cycle by 3x, cutting down on the time traditionally required for app development.

Developers choose 8base because it offers:

  • Automatic creation of scalable backends and API endpoints from data models
  • Rapid frontend and backend development
  • Support of familiar programming languages and technologies
  • A minimal learning curve with its low-code UX

However, the advantages of 8base extend beyond speed. It provides the flexibility to scale applications efficiently as user bases grow and allows for extensive customization to cater to specific project requirements. With 8base, you’re not just accelerating your development, you’re streamlining it.

Get Started With Archie, Our AI Solutions Architect

8base's intuitive backend and user-friendly frontend App Builder are just the beginning. Say hello to Archie, our AI solutions architect.

Archie is your co-pilot in digital product ideation. Simply give Archie a few words about what you'd like to build, and Archie will quickly go to work to dissect your vision and provide a comprehensive technical and business implementation blueprint.

Archie, which is free to use, eliminates the need for you to engage in prolonged discussions with salespeople and solution architects, offering clarity and direction that would typically take weeks — or even months.

To Sum It Up

Product launches are fraught with potential pitfalls and hidden costs. But, with the right knowledge and tools at your disposal, you can turn potential pitfalls into stepping stones for success.

So, as you embark on your next product launch journey, remember: It’s not about avoiding delays — it’s about anticipating, adapting and overcoming them.

Ready to try 8base?

We're excited about helping you achieve amazing results.