Time-based competition has always been critical, but in Web 2.0 it may be the most important dimension of competition. BCG has worked on this for many years, and has some good shortcuts and visual aids to help an organization focus on time.
Here is a packet of BCG white papers. One that is fun to see is by Shikhar Ghosh and Gary Reiner.
The most useful visual aid is a chart that shows when a competitor introduces a product, and when one’s own company introduces it, and makes visible the lag.
The most useful idea, I think, is that one needs to create a platform for launching products quickly and continuously. This is how Toyota and others think about their manufacturing, human resources, robotics, design, and parts-sharing strategies: That is, how much scope can we get from these assets? And how quickly can we express that scope in market introductions?
By contrast, Detroit tends to see platforms as continually being improved, in order to be able to launch the next generation of product. New features are “put on the product development schedule” and platform capabilities are designed, developed, tested, and finally put into operation and expressed in products.
What is missing is the kind of thinking that says, “Hey, from our existing platform, what scope can we get? What new products? How fast?
And, in addition, “How can we think about development as creating core capabilities that can be shared across many potential products?”
Finally, “How can we use others’ platforms–begged, borrowed, outsourced-to, or stolen, to add immediate scope to our offerings?”