October 7, 2022

How To Improve Time To Market in Software Development


The old cliche says that "speed kills," but when it comes to software development, a lack of speed can turn out to be even more dangerous.

Failing to ship products and product updates in a timely manner can frustrate customers, lead to cost overruns and ultimately cause a business to lose its competitive advantage. Even if you were first to market, you can quickly become an aging dinosaur if you can't keep up with changing conditions and demands.

So, how can you ensure you don't fall behind? It all comes down to tracking and continually improving your time to market.

What is Time to Market?

Time to market (TTM) is, broadly, the duration from an idea to a finished product. It's a critical metric in product development, measuring a company's agility and efficiency in transforming ideas into tangible, market-ready offerings.

TTM is not just a race against the clock; it encapsulates the entire journey of a product - from ideation, through design and development, to production and market launch. This metric is a litmus test for a company's ability to navigate the complex landscape of research and development, supply chain management, regulatory compliance and marketing strategies.

However, a focus on speed should not compromise the quality and integrity of the product. Businesses must strike a delicate balance, ensuring that while they expedite their TTM, they also uphold standards of quality.

TTM is not just about being fast. It's about being strategically efficient and effective in bringing new, relevant and high-quality products to the market in a timely manner.

How to Measure Time to Market in Software

Depending on the software you are building, the way you would measure TTM might look slightly different. Here are four tips for structuring your measurement.

Define Start and End Points

First, clearly define the project's initiation and completion points. The initiation is typically marked by formal project approval or the beginning of development, while completion is signified by the software’s release to users. This release could take various forms, such as a beta version, a full public launch or deployment for client use.

Segment the Development Process

Break down the software development lifecycle into distinct phases, such as research, design, coding, testing and deployment. This segmentation aids in identifying which stages are the most time-consuming and where there are opportunities for streamlining and efficiency improvements.

Analyze and Benchmark

Compare the total time taken from start to finish with industry standards, competitor timelines or past internal projects. Such a comparison is vital for gauging the company's competitiveness and operational efficiency in the rapidly evolving software market.

Use Project Management Tools to Simplify Measurement

Finally, it's important to use project management tools tailored for software development. These tools can track progress, provide real-time data and offer analytical insights. They play a significant role in accurately measuring and analyzing the TTM, allowing for more informed decision-making and continuous improvement in future projects.

How to Improve Time To Market When Building Digital Products

Your measurement might reveal inefficiencies in different areas of the product development process, from research to ideation and deployment. Many of these can be improved with process adjustments or emphasis on communication.

But how do you speed up the time to market when building digital products? Simple: you can start by using better development tools. For example, you can use low-code platforms.

Because low-code platforms allow you to:

  • set up your project quickly
  • make it scalable out of the box
  • build an entire project using a graphical interface
  • keep the ability to add any custom code
  • speed up the development by 3-5X
  • avoid writing repetitive boilerplate code
  • lower barrier to entry for non-technical people
  • increase developers' productivity
  • reduce the number of bugs by using tested components
  • and reduce technical debt by using a scalable architecture

All of this leads to quicker time to market.

But usually, you don't just want the speed. You want stability and scalability as well. And most importantly, you want to keep complete control over your project and your codebase.

Because often, no-code and low-code platforms will offer you the initial speed and shorten the time to market. But once you're on the market, you realize you can never leave. And your project is locked in with these platforms.

This is not the case with 8base.

It is built on top of existing popular technologies developers worldwide are already using (AWS, JS/TS, MySQL, etc.). So if you ever need to move, you can continue developing the project using the most widespread technologies today.

In short, the project and the codebase are entirely under your control.

Time To Market In App Development

Anyone who has ever developed web apps knows the struggles of maintaining a growing frontend project. The project complexity grows in an attempt to make the apps as interactive as possible. And with growing complexity, the chances of more bugs also increase.

To battle this complexity, developers use frameworks like React that help handle a growing app. And for a project to remain scalable, vast amounts of boilerplate code must be introduced.

These frameworks are also tools that are used to increase productivity. And they replaced less productive tools that came before.

The same can be said now for low-code platforms. They are replacing previous tools because of increased productivity and faster development. And any project that is not using low-code platforms today is losing the market competition game.

And using better tools is the easiest way to win in the market because:

  • you don't need any genius insights
  • no unfair advantage
  • don't need the most innovative developers
  • or the most expensive talent
  • neither do you need to push the physical limits of your dev team

All you need to do is pick the best tools for the job. And automatically, without even trying, you win against all those using inferior or outdated tools.

And today, the best tools for the job are low-code platforms.

How To Build A Web App Quickly?

App Builder is a low-code tool with all the features we discussed (stability, scalability, portability, etc.). But most importantly, it gives you speed so you can decrease the time to market and get your product out in record time.

Using drag-and-drop functionality, you can quickly build any custom interface you want. And App Builder contains a wide selection of the most frequently used components.

However, you are not limited to using only those components. Because you can easily develop your own custom components as well. So you have maximum speed and maximum flexibility at the same time.

What about the Database?

Your web application can connect to any external database. However, if you don't have a database, then the fastest way to make one is using low-code tools.

8base Backend allows you to quickly set up the database and data tables using only your browser. And the real speed-up comes from the fact that all the essential API endpoints are automatically created for you.

This shows the true power of low-code platforms in helping you write much less boilerplate code that takes up valuable development time. So you and your team can focus only on the most critical parts of your project.

Again, no code is required when building a database. However, you can always add your code whenever you have some ultra-specific customizations in mind. And the database is automatically scalable to support everything from a single user to a million users (and beyond).

So it's hard to think of a tool that will give you better options than this low-code platform: faster development, more control, unlimited customization, scalability, and lower costs.

Faster Time To Market Examples

Here are a couple of examples of many case studies where 8base was able to directly speed up the time to market.

The first example is Livo. A real estate management SaaS that managed to break through into a sector that was resisting emerging technologies for a long time. And one of the most significant contributing factors to that achievement was simplicity and speed.

The second example is LeadVolt. Lead management and CRM solution for the insurance industry. But the most impressive part was that the founders could see the development progress in real-time. This means they could accurately assess how the development team is doing. Which used to be much more challenging for founders who did not know how to code themselves.

This shows that you can start a successful tech company without being a developer. And it is very encouraging news for anyone still on the fence and thinking about the viability of low-code platforms. The future definitely belongs to them.

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