There are many principles of product development that people abide by. Unfortunately, quick development time has not made its way into the list of top development principles. Long development time by nature creates frustration and more setbacks. Let us examine the reasons why a speedy development process will deliver better results.
Limit Functionality to What Is Needed: The software development industry had the highest project failure rate of all major industries. It wasn’t until the advent of the Agile project development process that the success rate started to improve. While it is true that not all products being developed is software, one can still learn lessons from an industry that has improved their product delivery rate so much over the past few decades.
One of the major issues that Agile practitioners put forth for the lack of project completion was that the product design team included to many features and functions. This was an important finding because they determined that most users only use 10% of a programs total functionality. Agile pushed for a speedy production process because it forced the development team to focus on functionality that is most important, and leaving the less important functionality off the table to save time.
By limiting the amount of time a product development team has to complete development the more likely they will be to focus on the aspects of a new product that will make it successful, not getting side tracked by unnecessary features or aspects. To learn more about Agile visit here.
Increase Teamwork and Division of Labour: In a longer development cycle there may be more teams working on different aspects of a new product that will likely never be integrated into the prototype. A shorter development cycle will cause the development team to focus more acutely on exactly what the new product needs to have rather than what it could have. With less aspects to research and develop it means more people are available to work on less tasks. Tasks are often completed with greater success when more people are devoted to them. This is one of the main benefits of a speedy development cycle; you get more people working on less.
For this reason, R&D labs that put a focus on a speedy development process tend to deliver better results.
Shorter Production Cycles Cost Less: Much work has been done on the relationship between production cycle duration and production cycle cost. One of the leading researchers in this field, Preston G. Smith, has shown that longer production cycles do not end up producing better performing products and only serve to cost the producer more money. Smith does note that while there are some valid concerns about production cycle speed, most of the negative experiences come from poorly planned and managed products. If executed properly, a shorter production cycle ultimately costs the producer less and has them receiving a return on their investment sooner.
While a speedy product development cycle may seem intimidating to some it is clear that it offers a number of benefits and should be considered a high priority development principle.