Building the Product Launch Checklist

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Presented at the inaugural ProductCamp Chicago on June 19th, 2010

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Building the Product Launch Checklist

  1. 1. Building the Product Checklist Tim Courtney and Peter Morano
  2. 2. Introductions <ul><li>Tim Courtney (@timcourtney) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tireless customer and user experience advocate. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Director, Marketing and Brand Strategy at KeyLimeTie </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Co-Chair SocialDevCamp Chicago </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Peter Morano (@petermorano) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing software for 15 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CIO at KeyLimeTie </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Overview <ul><li>A product’s success has as much to do with the quality of the launch as it does with the quality of the product. </li></ul><ul><li>Using a checklist increases the likelihood of a successful launch. </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Checklist <ul><li>The checklist itself is nothing more than a bulleted list of tactics that have to happen or be in place prior to throwing the switch. </li></ul><ul><li>It might include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Outreach to influencers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Documentation, tutorials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support resources designated (with SLAs) </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Seriously? <ul><li>Seems so intuitive! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In many cases, teams are focused on developing the product, and launch becomes an afterthought. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Talented companies and people fall short of executing a great product launch because of the things they overlooked. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Mistake 1 <ul><li>If you don’t have a product manager, who’s watching the list? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Developers like to think project managers will do this. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Project managers like to think marketing will do this. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No one likes to talk to QA! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business owners want to get the stuff out there to start seeing revenue. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Lesson 1 <ul><li>Every team member is responsible for seeing that this list is used. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Project Managers, Developers, QA, Business Sponsors </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Mistake 2 <ul><li>Not designating a list owner </li></ul>
  9. 9. Lesson 2 <ul><li>Designate a Product Manager, even if that is not their actual title </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s a role, not necessarily a position. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make someone accountable. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give them authority over the launch schedule. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t penalize them for making the right call. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Mistake 3 <ul><li>Not treating each item on the list like any project requirement. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Lesson 3 <ul><li>Track checklist items in the same task management system you use for any work item </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide estimates early so stake holders understand the true cost of a launch. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each item should have an assigned resource. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Track progress of work items, and throw up flags when something is not done. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. So What Goes On The List? <ul><li>Depends on the product type and the launch success criteria. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No one-size fits all. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use templates as starting points. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. So What Goes On The List? <ul><ul><li>Planning and Research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Competitive Analysis, Minimally Viable Product </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Product Documentation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Operations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Adequate inventory levels, Distribution pipeline primed </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing and Sales </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Build Influencer Contact List, Media Outreach </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Assign personnel, Define SLAs </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Discussion <ul><li>Your thoughts and experience. </li></ul>

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