Requirements Best Practices

Six Ways to Faster Decisions That Increase ROI


What if you could get the right product to market 18 percent faster? For the average 100-person team, 18 percent translates to $1.5 million a year, and it puts one to two hours back into the day of every person on your product team.

Your teams are constantly shifting work priorities in response to changes, requiring everyone to make hundreds of decisions that can impact the business value of your product.

While you certainly can’t eliminate change, you can help your organization be more productive in its face. You can help them be more responsive, more empowered and faster.

Here’s how:

1. Speed of decision-making is key

One-third of all products are delivered late or incomplete due to an inability to reach or delay in decision-making, according to research from Forrester Consulting and Jama Software. Analysts at Gartner cite “speed of decision-making” as the primary obstacle impacting internal communication.

According to Forrester, for every hour product teams spend on heads-down work, they spend 48 minutes waiting on decisions, or more than 3.5 hours in an average eight-hour work day.

2. Remove barriers to swift, accurate decisions

If your company can cut wait times in half, you can achieve more than $370,000 annually in productive time, assuming a 25-person team—and much more when you consider the opportunity costs avoided by late delivery of products to market.

In product delivery, the value of decision-making is often grossly underestimated. If done right, removing the barriers that prevent swift, accurate decisions can actually compress overall cycle time by a minimum of 18 percent.

3. Bring in stakeholders early and often

“What are we building, why are we building it and how are we building it?”

To answer these fundamental questions–and execute–you need consensus at the beginning from everyone involved. By bringing the business stakeholders in early, product teams build commitment to the solution they ultimately develop.

Also, including the entire product development team—including engineering, QA and design. The product quality will be higher and teams will move faster, with a shared understanding.

4. Centralize the review process with a streamlined workflow

A centralized, searchable review repository that the entire team can access helps to reduce the roadblocks, challenges and frustrations of having to find, revise, analyze and keep track of multiple documents or spreadsheets. A central review area with a sophisticated workflow guides large teams through reviewing, editing and agreeing on specifications. It also allows reviewers to collaborate in parallel rather than

5. Practice purposeful collaboration

An effective collaboration process is one that keeps conversations connected to the project. It should bring all ideas, whiteboard sessions, drawings and other offline conversations that are critical to product delivery into the process. The collaboration process also needs to incorporate social sharing, tools, and workflows that are familiar to stakeholders so that they can easily find the information to form their decisions—from any device, via various applications and from any location.

6. How to make a difference right now

New collaboration systems that engage teams in the decision-making process are effective, even transformative, particularly for companies building complex software and technology products. But to in order to improve decision-making product team leaders need to instigate a cultural shift. By letting go of the typical command-and-control approach, leaders can empower their teams by connecting people to their work, providing them with all the information and trusting them to make the right decisions.

Download an expanded version of this post plus TWO BONUS pieces:
1. The 5 Keys to Successful Product Delivery
2. Ten Common Challenges Jama Tackles


Remove Barriers, Decide Faster and Increase Product ROI