Preston Smith's Corner

How will improvements in managing project risk affect time to market?

June 2002 Quick Tip

Our emphasis over the years has been on reducing product development cycle time (time to market). Many companies have worked vigorously on time to market and have gotten better at it; for example, many have cut their cycle times in half.

However, managers in these companies are still not pleased with their time to market performance. Some of them are striving to reduce cycle time even more in order to meet or beat the competition; there can be great value in this.

Other managers are recognizing that — in their environment — raw cycle time is not the issue. What hurts them more is variation in cycle time. When they start a project, they know from their history how long it will take, on average, but they also know that they are plagued with substantial variation from this average. In many cases, for example, for seasonal products or ones launched at trade shows, it is this unpredictability that is the killer in their development schedules.

This is precisely where project risk management helps. Its objective is to reduce the uncertainty in the outcome of your project. You can use it to control schedule uncertainty — the variation in time to market for a particular project, as discussed above. You can also apply it to reduce variation in development expense, cost of goods sold, or product performance or quality.

For details, see the article “The Risk in Time to Market.”

(c) Copyright 2013 Preston G. Smith. All Rights Reserved.

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