Proof: Two Examples of Minimizing “Wait Time”
The following customer examples demonstrate how implementing decision-making strategies minimizes “wait times” and adds value for companies based on their specific set of needs.
A large semiconductor company has 250 product variations for global distribution. Most of the design time was spent in linear review processes, waiting for one person to finish her part of the review cycle before the next person could start his work. To speed these review cycles, the company brought more people into the review cycle earlier, increasing the quantity of real-time discussions between individuals working on related parts of the product. For example, when product designers had questions, they knew exactly who was working on the related test case or software specification and got decisions immediately. The results were dramatic: this global manufacturing company reduced design time from three people driving a six-month process to one person and one month. That’s an 18-fold, or 90 percent reduction in effort for the large manufacturing organization.
A growing space transport services company needed to slash wait times resulting from a “wait-for-the-weekly-four-hour-meeting” process and increase communication to speed up development and delivery. Using the purposeful collaboration tools in Jama, the large ecosystem of partners, contractors and vendors started conversations and reached decisions in real time. The result? A 50 percent reduction in average wait time for defining product requirements the end of costly four-hour status meetings.
Most important, better decision-making maximizes value and ROI on your product delivery by getting the right products delivered, faster and better than before.
Where You Lose Value
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.
How You Can Gain Value
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
Bring in stakeholders early.
The fundamental questions are, “What are we building, why are we building it and how are we building it?” To answer and to execute, you need consensus and commitment at the beginning from everyone involved. By bringing the business stakeholders in early, product teams build commitment and buy-in to the solution they ultimately develop. Consider including the entire product development team (including engineering, QA and design) as well; the quality will be higher and teams will move faster. With everyone sharing the same vision and commitment at the front end, the decision-making process will be more expeditious moving forward.
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 waiting for one group to finish. All team members can see each other’s comments, enabling them to reach faster resolution around issues and questions; this typically cuts the review cycle in half.
Produce impactful collaboration.
By creating a collaboration stream, people across the organization are brought into the planning process to extend product innovation out of development to include all stakeholders and phases of the product-delivery cycle, from concept to launch. 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 tools, workflows and social constructs 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.
One way you can 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. However, improving decision-making relies on much more than implementing new technologies—it also requires a significant cultural shift. Managers need to let go of the command-and-control approach wherein they only disperse the necessary information to specific teams for fear they may become distracted by additional insights. Rather, they should empower employees by providing them with all the information and trusting them to make the right decisions.