The ultimate product launch checklist is, as the name suggests, a cross-functional and comprehensive list of elements that a team needs to complete before launching a product -successfully.
Launching a product is a complex and multi-dimensional endeavor, and it is critical to plan thoughtfully and execute flawlessly. The ultimate product launch checklist by Stratrix is a handy deliverable that will help you in planning and checking off items as the team completes them.
While a product manager and their teams are the coordinators and conductors of this orchestra, as in a triumphant symphony, there are several other teams – marketing, sales, channel, advertising, PR; et al. is vital constituents, stakeholders and participants in launching a product.
What is a Product Launch?
A product launch is all the activities that take place for the successful release of a product into the marketplace. The product launch checklist excludes the ideation and product development phases of the product management life cycle. It includes activities and tasks that are a part of a product release plan.
A product launch is the introduction (or reintroduction or expansion) of a new or existing product. The start itself may be a big bang, a test in a specific market, or a roll out to a particular sector. One may launch a product in various states of being – MVP, alpha, beta, selective roll-out, and general availability. The level of difficulty of a product launch as an MVP to determine product/market fit is comparably lower than each subsequent state of the product, with general availability being the most complex endeavor of all.
In the same vein, the checklist for launching a product will be thinner for an MVP launch – even if equally essential and will become more complicated for a full-fledged launch.
The Ultimate Product Launch Checklist:
The checklist for a product launch includes several phases and multiple organizational teams to come together. The following product launch checklist template is a starting point, and you may customize the list to create a more personalized product launch checklist for your firm.
Product Team: The nerve center of all product launch activities and the coordinators of the product launch checklist.
- Product brief
- Features and functions
- Release notes
- Marketing Brief
- Creative Brief
- Sales Brief
- Launch Project Plan
- Product Catalog
- Pricing Sheet
- RACI Assignment (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed)
Marketing Team: The product launch activities that are in the realm of marketing.
- Market research
- Customer Analytics
- Customer Segmentation
- Product Positioning
- Unique Sales Proposition
- Messaging Hooks
- Buyer Personas
- Journey Maps
- Communications Strategy
- Product Collateral (brochures, ads, logos, images, sales collateral, FAQs)
- Launch Announcement (multiple channels)
- Product section on the company Website (including potentially building a microsite)
- Press Relations and Media outreach
- Analyst Relations
- Influencer Relations
- Search Engine Optimization
- Paid Advertising Campaigns (digital and general)
- Social Media Strategy and Execution Plan
Sales Team: The activities a sales team needs to complete for a successful product launch.
- Sales Forecast
- Account-based Planning
- Field force recruitment and onboarding (if necessary)
- Product/service-specific Training
- Talking Points, FAQs, and Common Objections and Potential Answers
- Customer Outreach Strategy
- Sales collateral (sales deck, datasheets, flyers, email copy)
- Distribution channel management and collateral
Operations Team: The middle office and back-office functions that are essential to a successful product launch.
- Product entry into ERP and other Transactional Systems
- Key Performance Indicators and Scorecards
- Fee and Billing
- Operations Associate Training
- Process updates
- Activity monitoring
Customer Servicing and Product Support Teams: Supporting the launch with prospect and customer handholding.
- Call Center Agent Training
- Support Manuals and Internal Documentation
- Customer instruction manuals and collateral
- Self-help tutorials and videos
- Case management system and process set up
- Ticket assignment and escalation planning
- Warranty and Out of Warranty Support
IT Team: Technology enabling the product launch.
- Infrastructure capacity
- Environment testing
- Identity, Access Management, and Provisioning
- PQRS (Performance, Quality, Reliability, and Scalability)
Legal, Risk, and Compliance Team: Ensuring regulatory and legal compliance and management of risk.
- Regulatory filings
- Governance framework
- Internal Policies
- Legal Review
- Terms and Conditions
- Internal Audit
- Risk Management Framework
- Policies and Procedures
As a product manager or product owner, do you create a checklist for launching products? If so, what items do you include and exclude? Does the product team manage the product launch checklist, or is it handed-over to a project manager?
What items are we missing here in this product launch checklist? Please share.