How to Define and Measure Your Product Launch Timeline

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Product launches must be carefully planned and monitored in order to ensure product success. 

It’s easy to make a huge mistake in putting together a product launch timeline. Many product teams are overly eager to get new products to users and launch them quickly. But being too quick can have its drawbacks. The key is to get the right balance between a rapid launch with adequate quality, and a safe launch with minimal risk.

To set up your product launch timeline, following these two basic rules: 

A. Prioritize your product teams according to their experience. 

If you’re launching an innovative web-based application, your product teams should be seasoned programmers, experienced software engineers, product marketers, marketing managers, and sales executives with solid project management skills. If your product is focused on a hardware solution, your team should also include product designers, installers, and service experts. Product managers need to work with product teams to determine the scope of the project and plan various phases of execution.

B. Include the most critical elements to your launch, such as the marketing strategy, the technical details, and your pricing strategy. 

Establish your product launch timeline based on both the schedule released by your creative team and the schedule that your manufacturing and logistics teams are able to complete in the lead-time allotted to them. Remember that the earlier in the development process you put out details, the more likely they will be used and will make the product more profitable to sell.

C. Consider the involvement of each stakeholder during the launch process. 

Stakeholders, which may include both customers and suppliers, have different needs and goals than the customer. These groups may be called upon to provide valuable input during various phases of the launch process, including marketing, engineering, risk management, quality assurance, and pre-launch activities. Your product launch team should meet stakeholder objectives for each stakeholder identified throughout the development cycle.

D. Make sure your product launch timeline includes detailed accounts of the engagement of each stakeholder. 

Tracking the results of social media marketing, media campaign analysis, and beta testing can be critical to the success of your launch. A product launch planner can help you set up metrics to track the performance of your efforts, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Using a timeline can also help you determine if you are meeting your milestones, which can help you make the necessary adjustments to your plans without having to make too many costly changes to the launch date.

E. Maintain transparency in your goals and missions through sharing what you want to accomplish and what you don’t yet know about your business goals or mission. 

A company’s vision is often at odds with its mission, goals, and plans. A product launch planner can help you articulate your goals and communicate them in a manner that others will be able to understand. Your goals should be clearly defined and realistic. If you don’t know how to achieve your goals, then you should not launch the initiative.

F. Make sure your targets are aligned with your influencers’ interests. 

When choosing potential target market and influencer targets, be sure to select individuals who would be interested in your products or services and that they would be willing to engage in a conversation. It is important to build trust with influencers before trying to sell to them. Tracking the conversations with each target group can help you learn how you are progressing toward your goals. Through metrics, you can see how your conversations are going and you can learn if your goals are on track.

G. Include postmortem plans in your launch plan. 

A post mortem occurs after a product has been launched. Product owners use postmortem plans to address their fears about their product, gather additional information from stakeholders and align the actions of their team members with those of stakeholders. With this information, you can improve your postmortem plans and strengthen your launch strategy.

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