Bringing innovative, differentiated products to market quickly is a top priority for most companies, but delivery often lags behind ambition. To improve time to market, product groups need to more effectively prioritize winning ideas and execute on them, but most lack the processes, tools, and executive buy-in needed to excel.
These are the findings of a recent study of 280 globally-based product development executives who conveyed their top pain points, business risks, software impacts, and process improvements through the lens of resource management and capacity planning.
Commissioned by Planview and conducted by Appleseed Partners and OpenSky Research, the study – How to Improve Time to Market with Existing
Resources – reveals that most organizations need to better align and connect products with the corporate strategy as well as ensure that scarce human and non-human resources are leveraged wisely for the most competitive offerings and high-value returns.
Majority of Product Groups in Low- to Mid-tier Maturity Levels
Using a maturity model matrix, the study uncovered that two-thirds of product development groups are in low- to mid-maturity levels with significant room for growth. Lower maturity is characterized as chaotic, with virtually no visibility into incoming demand or insight into what their resources are working on. Higher maturity organizations have achieved a certain level of management control and optimization through having greater visibility into demand and capacity. Even those who identified their maturity level as high said that select processes and prioritization need improvements.
Top Pain Points and Business Risks
In addition to a lack of visibility into capacity and demand, the survey respondents also identified the impact of constant change, which affects assignments and availability, as a top pain point associated with not addressing resource management and capacity planning issues. This leads to business risks that include remaining in crisis mode, the inability to optimize both people and financial investments, and wasting resources on the wrong projects and products.
More than 50 percent of lower maturity organizations perceive that their greatest business risk is delayed time to market, resulting in losses of revenue, savings, user/customer satisfaction, and/or market share. This reduces by more than 10 percent for higher maturity organizations.
Perceived Business Benefits of Improving Resource Management and Capacity Planning
When asked what business benefits they believed their organizations would recognize by improving resource management and capacity planning processes as well as using enterprise software, all participants regardless of their organization's maturity level shared two key expectations: streamlined and accurate resource forecasting and planning; and improved project success and time to market.
Depending on their maturity level, they also want to improve visibility into what resources are working on, optimize the productivity of resources, or improve visibility into capacity.
The Right Enterprise Software Can Make a Difference
According to the study findings, product organizations that invested in enterprise software are 27 percent better off in their visibility into capacity and 22 percent better off in visibility into demand. Significantly, software improved the ability for resources to consistently complete products on time by 6 percent. However, the effectiveness of software depends on having the right supporting processes in place and an executive mandate to ensure its consistent use by all appropriate parties. Also, product groups should ask two key questions when evaluating software: Is it the right software? Is it being used the right way?
Top Best Practices of Mature Organizations
The study shows that having a strong foundation of software, process, and executive support enable product organizations to achieve a more complete picture of capacity and demand, which results in optimized resources, stronger company bottom lines, better market share, and brand awareness equity. Adherence to best practices is critical. The most mature organizations recommend three top best practices:
- better prioritization of products and resources in line with strategy;
- performing what-if analysis on capacity plans to determine the best
- use of resources and for risk mitigation; and
- establishing and communicating processes – a powerful first step is to leverage executive mandate to ensure that processes be improved and adopted across the enterprise.
In addition, mature organizations have insight into what people are working on, have a dedicated function to lead resource management and capacity planning activities, estimate projects well, and use product portfolio management software to optimize their resources.
Linda Roach is vice president of marketing at Planview (www.planview.com).
Edited by Stefania Viscusi