The length of time it takes to develop a new product from inception until its' first market sales.
Time to market (TTM) is the length of time it takes from a product being conceived until its being available for sale. TTM is important in industries where products are outmoded quickly. Organizations pursue TTM improvement for a variety of reasons. Some variations of TTM are
* Pure speed, that is, bring the product to market as quickly as possible. This is valuable in fast-moving industries, but it is not always the best objective.
* More predictable schedules. Rather than reaching the market as soon as possible, delivering on schedule, for example to have the new product available for a trade show, can be more valuable. In addition to processes such as Stage-Gate or Six Sigma, project risk management (see References below) is an effective tool here.
* Minimizing resources, especially labor. Many managers figure that the shorter the project the less it will cost, so they attempt to use TTM as a means of cutting expenses. Unfortunately, a primary means of reducing TTM is to staff the project more heavily, so a faster project may actually be more expensive.
* Flexibility to make changes. Product innovation is intimately tied to change, and often the need for change appears midstream in a project. Consequently, the ability to make changes during development without being too disruptive can be valuable. For example, one's goal could be to satisfy customers, which could be achieved by adjusting product requirements during development in response to customer feedback. Then TTM could be measured from the last change in requirements until the product is delivered.