Experienced project managers know that milestones and due dates are hard to predict. They therefore make allowances for uncertainty, unexpected surprises, and resource availability. Adding too much breathing space, however, can be just as catastrophic as missing deadlines completely, running the risk of losing customers, market share, reputation, and revenue.

The cost of delaying a product launch can be significant. Deadlines are therefore often dictated by executives or customers and influenced by market trends and sales goals. Aggressive and seemingly unachievable deadlines certainly focus the mind, but adversely affect product development teams who are left scrambling to get the project completed on time. Innovation, quality and product performance inevitably suffer as a result.

Understandably, businesses want the best products, for the lowest cost, in the fastest time. However, engineering high-quality products, within budget, takes time – a commodity in high demand. Bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the design process force design teams to spend up to half of their time on non-value adding activities including waiting for, searching for, and recreating data. Collaboration with internal teams and external suppliers, while absolutely necessary, slows the process even more. The result is a compromise – a fine balancing act between quality, performance, and cost.

Most significant impacts of wasted time

To gain more insight into the causes and effects of project delays, researchers from Tech-Clarity gathered and analyzed over 350 responses from companies of all sizes, industries, and geographies to identify their best practices.

The survey benchmarked product development performance, comparing each company’s ability to:

  • Develop products rapidly
  • Meet product cost targets
  • Deliver high-quality products
  • Meet project/program cost targets
  • Design innovative products

Researchers then identified the top 20% of respondents and designated them as “Top Performers.”

The most noticeable difference between each group of companies – and what appears to have the biggest impact – is the tools and technologies that Top Performers employ to meet their business goals. Researchers discovered that Top Performers are 37% more likely to use cloud-native, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product development tools. They are also 27% less likely to miss due dates.

The cloud helps product developers by centralizing and providing secure access to design data on any device from anywhere in the world with minimal IT intervention. Simultaneous and continuous access to the latest design data enables teams to work concurrently, eliminating the inefficiencies and time-wasting activities associated with traditional design software and data management systems.

With all project-related data together in one place, SaaS product development tools make it easy to identify which tasks are on schedule and which ones are running late. Project Managers are able to identify potential issues way before they occur. In addition, teams can plan, strategize, re-allocate resources and get the customer involved in a timely manner and certainly before any serious problems arise.

Bottlenecks and overheads that can lead to missed deadlines, cost overruns, stressed engineers and lost business are either reduced or eliminated, giving teams more time to innovate, iterate and add value.

You can read Tech-Clarity’s full research report, “Accelerating Product Development with the Cloud,” here.