Pretend you’re standing on a train platform, waiting for your ride. When it arrives, the train is near full and the conductor calls out “all aboard”. So, you hop on and the train proceeds forward. Of course, you don’t ask the conductor questions because the schedule of the train is set as are the tracks and the destination.
Conversely, launching a product or feature release is quite different. While it may seem like everyone knows the direction and destination, are we sure? Has anyone written it down? Have we communicated it enough to ensure clarity? In a fast-paced environment where everything is due yesterday, we have an opportunity. We are afforded a “time out”. We can request information, even if it means slowing down the train, if only for a second.
Launch Day is happy to introduce our Four Stage Launch Framework. The purpose of this framework is to align your team around a product launch, ensuring future success, efficiency and installing the “North Star” direction the team can align around. Our process starts by defining organizational goals, continues to sizing up opportunities, developing an execution plan and then gauging success. Find the framework and a description of steps below. Happy launching!
Stage 1: What are our business goals?
What are we trying to achieve for our organization or business unit? Where can we “move the needle”? Oftentimes these goals may be defined as OKR’s. At some (often smaller) companies, it’s less formal and maybe a decree from the leadership level. Regardless, we recommend formally defining goals and then deciding on key performance indicators (KPI’s) that can be used to measure the goals. Lastly, capture the KPI measurements as they are today. These will serve as your baseline metrics.
Stage 2: How can we create customer value to achieve our goals?
With goals in mind, now it’s time to figure out what we can do to achieve said goals. A new product line? Pricing changes? Better onboarding? Rebranding? A collection of product feature requests? In this phase, there are two assets to build out. First, list your product/marketing/business opportunities. Then, size up the opportunities against the goals/KPI’s from phase 1. Some companies will use a weighted scorecard for this.
Stage 3: How will we deliver value to clients?
There’s a reason these phases happen in succession. Having defined, scored and ranked various opportunities your team should now be primed to plan. Build a roadmap to track opportunities over time periods coupled with the accompanying go-to-market events that will support the roadmap. The launch plan will be exhaustive, capturing key activity that will be necessary to achieving the goals stated in phase 1.
Then, it’s time to execute. Press go. The train’s now moving again and everyone is on board with clear alignment around duration, speed and destination.
Stage 4: How will we gauge success?
How are we executing against our plan? Here’s where we start tracking the KPI’s again, but now having created a bunch of customer value. Are we seeing the improvement in KPI’s that we expected? Do we need to tweak our plan? The success you see at this stage will – at least in part – be attributable to the work done in the first three phases. Of course, the learnings from this launch will inform the next as the team grows stronger with each successive go to market launch.
Is this similar to your process at your company? Looking to implement something like this? Happy to hear your thoughts!
Upward and onward,
John from Launch Day