Of all the important factors when it comes to your software (including the quality of your own product), timing beats it all as THE most important thing.
Timing is everything.
While the quality of your product greatly determines success, often it is the timing that affects success more. We all want to fulfill our customer’s ultimate goal in the shortest amount of time, while still delivering a great product.
If you make the scope of what you are trying to do too big, it will take too long to go live and the opportunity will pass you by. You will miss out on timing. Make sure the scope is not too large to begin with, and as the project gets going, don’t allow the scope to “creep” adding more functionality (meaning more time). Getting the right functionality to market quickly and avoiding perfectionism allows you to seize the moment. You can improve in subsequent iterations.
“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” – Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great example. They went live when they had a functional product, but the team is able to continuously improve the product, meeting the needs of their customers. You need the right amount of functionality at the right time – you don’t need perfection out of the gate. If you try to do too much and achieve perfection you will miss your window of perfect timing.
Do you remember Sony’s Betamax? It launched in 1975, but just never took off. JVC’s VHS launched a year later and ended up being more successful. Betamax was the superior technology but they missed what people really valued – a selection of movies. JVC continued to improve and met the needs of their customers. While Betamax had the better functionality, it couldn’t beat subpar delivery of a broader range of titles. By the late 1980s, VHS dominated the market. Having a superior product just isn’t enough. You want to get to market quickly with the right offering. VHS was not the best technology (or even the first of their kind), but they had the content that people wanted.
What about Apple’s digital assistant product, Newton? Apple announced the product well before the actual launch, leaving consumers without a product for nearly two years. By the time the actual product came out, people had forgotten about it and the excitement had worn off. On top of that, there were many software problems that should have been fixed before the launch. Had Apple focused more on the right timing of the release of this product, we may still be talking about the Newton today.
A Gartner survey found about half of all project failures were created by functionality issues and major delays.
We can learn two things from Apple and Newton. The first is to make sure you have a product before you start promoting. Identify a need in the market, but be careful not to create a demand without a viable product that will actually work. People are not going to wait around. The other thing we can learn from them is to have a functional product at launch. You don’t want to lose people by providing a product that just isn’t ready. You can always improve your product, but it needs to work.
You can use timing to your benefit. Find what helps you get to market faster (or slower if that timing makes more sense for you). Keep your focus on the launch date, while still ensuring you spend the time to make your application functional. Don’t get caught up in the scope, spending time on the things that you can work on after launch. Capture the competitive advantage at the right time. When it comes to timing, it’s a matter of keeping up with your audience and users. Finding that “big wave” in your industry.
If you’re looking for a way to get analytics in your application to market faster, consider a BI platform. It would allow you to enhance your application with robust reports and dashboards, providing analytics to your users, but in a quick way without compromising the quality of your product.
Our platform offers you the flexibility to decide the timing that works best for you. It can be deployed quickly as a white-labeled, stand-alone BI portal, or you can integrate into your existing application. Each option offers you the flexibility to provide your users with fully branded self-service analytics for data-driven decision making. Let us know if you’d like to learn more!