What is a Product Launch?

It’s not surprising to get five different answers from five people who are asked the question “What’s a product launch?”.

The answer to that question is the heart of the BrainKraft point of view. I’ll share that POV without being too academic. You will agree with my POV or you won’t and that should spark some lively discussion.

  • I focus only on launching a product. That is, introducing a product, feature, or service.
  • Releasing a product is not the same as launching a product.
  • A successful product launch is measurable. You can quantify its impact on your business.
  • A product launch is a team sport. It involves many people from many parts of your organization.
  • A product launch is a process, not a date.
  • The purpose of a product launch is to create momentum.

What causes confusion with the term launch is that it’s used synonymously with the term release.

A release is something the development or engineering team completes. It represents the entire product and is ready for customers. But, not every release is available to customers.

A release is a technical process. A product launch is a business process. In that business process, we may choose to hold a release to accelerate a business goal. Timing is everything in a successful product launch and sometimes the right move is to wait.

And, not every release needs the effort of a product launch. An example is a release with minor updates and fixes.

Successful product launches have defined launch objectives. Those objectives are measurable and are monitored.

Most launches fail because they lack a definition of success. Launch objectives and key results are not defined. Some product launches focus on growth and some on retention. Some have a little of both.

Key metrics track progress toward your launch objectives. And they provide an early warning system to identify problem areas.

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A product launch may be the most cross-functional activity a business undertakes. It requires knowledge, expertise, process, and a ton of project management.

There are many moving parts to planning and executing a product launch. And there are many surprises along the way. To get through it all requires a dedicated launch team with someone leading the team.

A successful product launch has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

A common misconception is that a product launch ends on the launch date. The launch date is the end of the middle.

The beginning is about planning and commitment. The middle is about preparing your team, your partners, your market, and going to market. The end is about execution, monitoring, and learning.

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A product launch is all about one thing: creating momentum. It’s finding ways to get to your launch objectives as fast and as efficiently as possible.

It’s reacting to unplanned events. It’s rallying to overcome disappointment. It’s making adjustments to accelerate and achieve launch success.

And, it’s celebrating the wins, no matter how big or how small.

Originally published at https://www.brainkraft.com on February 24, 2021.

Technology executive, founder of BrainKraft