When a product launch is well-coordinated, it can be a game changer for both your company and your customers. But every team meeting, demo, and deadline is also an opportunity for slippage, and, if one thing goes wrong in a product launch, it can cascade into a much bigger problem quickly.
The best way to avoid that slippage is to build a system that lets everyone—from your teammates to your customers—know exactly what to expect and what to do throughout the launch process.
A single system that acts as the ultimate hub for everything related to a product launch can be a decisive factor in empowering teams to talk to each other more effectively and stay on schedule. Here's how you can build that system.
One home for all your launch planning
When your product launch planning happens in five different Slack channels, 15 email chains, and three weekly calls, you're begging for a communications breakdown.
A single Airtable base for all your product launch planning lets your whole team keep track of which steps need to be completed before your product can launch, as well as who's responsible for each of those steps.
Then, if you want to check in on how a particular feature is coming along, you don't need to go through the steps of finding out who's responsible for that feature, checking when the feature's due in Google Calendar, and then writing them an email to see if they're on track to meet that due date.
Instead, you can find the feature's record in your Features table and, without going anywhere, @mention the person responsible in the record to check in and see if they're on track.
At other times, you'll want to have a more general team meeting that encompasses the entire product launch rather than a particular feature. you can add a Google Hangouts block to your base, creating a button with a unique link that everyone on your team can use to jump onto a group video chat—all while keeping the product launch base in front of you so that you can easily consult and reference particular assets, conversations, and deadlines.
Keep production transparent
Keeping all of your product deadlines in a single resource empowers every one of your team members to see the whole picture of precisely how the product launch will be moving forward on any given day, allowing them to keep to their own deadlines while also holding each other accountable.
The Launch Calendar view of the Features table in your launch base lets you see every single feature mapped to the day it's due to be completed. Each due date can be expanded so that you can see the full record of that feature—so if you see a due date that's coming up, you can quickly expand the record and ping the owner of that feature.
If you want to see just the records relevant to a specific person's responsibilities, you can apply a filter to the Launch Calendar view to show only those features that are owned by a specific person. You can use these filters to create more specific calendar views—whether that's a personal view of only your deadlines that you can use to keep yourself on track or a view of your teammate's deadlines that you can use to help keep them on track.
There are times when you'll want to zoom out from particular feature deadlines and think on the macro scale about the overall launch deadlines. Your base's countdown block lets you always keep those final deadlines in view, keeping your team motivated and cognizant of the big-picture launch.
But a product launch calendar should do more than passively contain the due dates of different deliverables: it should also notify your team whenever a particular feature has successfully been completed. You can use a chime block to do exactly this.
First, create a checkbox field in the Features table that indicates when a feature has been launched. After that, create a view of your Features table that shows only those records that have this box checked.
With this setup, you can set up a chime block that will play a custom sound effect every time a new record appears in this view.
With a more centralized and active calendar system, your entire team will stay better oriented around every step in the launch process.
Nail the distribution
It's easy to get so caught up in overseeing the actual product development pipeline that you overlook the strategy of exactly how to publicize product releases to your target audience segments. A centralized product launch base won't just have all the information and assets for your new product: it'll also empower you to leverage those assets to develop a coordinated, multi-channel plan for pitching your new product to new and returning customers.
As your team develops features for your new product, your marketing team can get to work staging newsletters advertising those features—all in the very same product launch base.
The base's Monthly Newsletters table gives you a place to create records organizing all of your new product's features into digestible, strategic messages to your customers. Each record can feature:
- A publication date
- Checkboxes for when the newsletter has been drafted, reviewed, staged, and published
- Links to the features of your product that the newsletter will discuss
- Notes on exactly what the angle/purpose of that particular newsletter is
Set your product team up for success
A team is only as good as its playbook. If your teams are scrambling to prepare a product launch across dozens of different collaboration tools, it won't matter how talented your product managers are or how amazing your new product is: you'll be losing time and resources by making sure all the work on all those different tools stay in sync. When it comes to product launches, that's time you don't have.
A centralized product launch resource can provide clarity of communication between you, your team, and your customers. You'll stay on the same page throughout the process, and there'll be little cause for confusion as your final product comes together and your launch timer ticks down to that ultimate release.