Managing launch readiness
Updated: Jul 13
How to get in the best shape for maximum success
There is a painful irony in most product launch failures. This irony is none other than the fact that companies and organizations spend so much time and resources trying to launch a great product, but then end up spending too little on the actual launch itself - and then the product fails.
This is even more baffling when we consider just how tricky and volatile product launch can be. There are so many things that can go wrong.
For this reason, a concerted, coordinated approach to product launch is always the right way to go. Luckily, there is a term to describe this state, and it is known as launch readiness.
What is launch readiness?
Launch readiness is simply a measure of the optimal preparedness of a product to launch. Consequently, it measures the probability of success (or failure) after launch.
It does this by putting into consideration not only the health and soundness of the product itself, but also a host of other key factors involved in a successful product launch such as competitive advantage, business model, traction, and of course sales and marketing coordination.
Launch readiness checklists help founders and organizations assess their launch readiness by putting into consideration all important factors without overlooking any.
Why launch readiness matters
It is all too easy for startups and organizations to get carried away by the supposed uniqueness and importance of their products. More often than not, it seems to companies preparing for a launch that they have managed to successfully build the singular greatest product that will change mankind forever.
Sadly, along the line as they revel in the beauty of their products, they forget that a quality product is not the only determinant of success.
Launch readiness checklists ensures that this never happens. By identifying key factors that indicate optimal readiness, and making sure that all of these factors are taken into consideration, an organization or start-up puts itself in the best possible state for product launch success.
Launch goals and launch constraints
On either side of launch readiness are launch goals and launch constraints. Both are equally important because they greatly determine what launch readiness looks like.
No two product launches are the same, no matter how similar the products are. This is because goals for the products usually tend to differ based on a handful of factors, one of which is the level of constraints involved.
Company A and Company B launching the same products won't necessarily have the same goals and they won't necessarily have the same constraints.
For this reason, before you, as a founder or project lead, can have a clear picture of where you are in terms of launch readiness, you must first have a clear picture of what your launch goals are. Afterwards, you can then assess what constraints you face and may face on your way to launch success.
Once these are done, you have more tools in your arsenal to properly assess launch readiness.
Assessing launch readiness
Launch readiness doesn't just happen on its own. It takes conscious, thorough planning by everyone involved - from the developers to the quality control inspectors to the sales team.
Thanks to the difference in goals and constraints, it is difficult to prescribe a general launch readiness checklist for every startup, every organization and every product.
If this were possible, there would probably be no failure due to lack of launch readiness.
So, assessing launch readiness varies from scenario to scenario. Thankfully, however, there are a few constant criteria which could veritably make up every product checklist. Navigating and successfully managing these broad factors should put your launch readiness at a near optimal state.
Launch readiness checklists - getting into the best shape
So there is no general, unfailing trick to asserting launch readiness. But there are nonetheless constant launch criteria that can greatly assure you are in the best shape for launch. What's more, they all fall into four general categories, all of which we discuss below.
Business and investment
Assessing business and investment criteria helps you get a clearer picture as to the potential adoption and disruption power of your product. Among other things, you are to consider in this category:
Investor buy-in rate
An important determinant of product launch readiness is having your sales team involved from the beginning. Sales is such a crucial aspect of launch readiness and launch success that those who make the mistake of getting the sales team involved last minute, after the project is ready, risk colossal failure.
A sales team must be conversant with every aspect of your product and must be able to work it as though they invented the thing itself. This is why coordination with the sales team from this start is usually a key part of a launch readiness checklist.
It is the job of a marketer to get people to want to buy your product. Not all products have initial appeal, no matter how useful they are. In fact, most useful products require a significant amount of convincing before people start to recognize their importance. This is where good marketing comes in.
Below are some key marketing components to be found in a good launch readiness checklist.
Product-market fit analysis
Sales processes support
Press release and buzz generation
Product and success
Last but not the least, the product and success category involves all the factors that ensure that your users stay loyal. In other words, user retention.
A great facilitator of user retention is product dynamism, which essentially means that your product must evolve and not be stagnant.
Key criteria in the product launch checklist that falls under product and success include:
Onboarding process optimization
Having a solid product launch checklist is not a guarantee for optimal launch readiness, but it is a crucial step that confirms you are indeed on the right track.
In summary, ensure optimal coordination right from the start, set launch goals, identify launch constraints, and finally create a checklist based on the four broad categories above - and you should be on your way to launch readiness, and ultimately, launch success in no time at all.