There’s nothing quite like interoffice panic when a product launch date is missed. Tensions are high and frustration increases by the hour. But more importantly, revenue is lost. The demand built around the launch date may never return to the same degree. Any PR efforts might be delayed as publishers wait for the launch to be official.
Fortunately there is a wealth of information, tools and strategy for improving time to market for your product launch. Here’s what you need to never miss another launch date.
Any product in the digital world will require significant software development. The past decade has provided innovations on that front with agile and scrum methodology and the formation of DevOps, which allows for continuous software delivery. Continuous software delivery allows for software releases multiple times a week, as opposed to the three to six months for a traditional release. The system also provides automated testing and maintenance. This means there is less emphasis on time to market as engineering teams can be flexible. McKinsey & Company provided a three-step approach to implementing DevOps.
- Simplify — Create one source of truth for all development discussions and ideas.
- Scale — The constant automated testing and transparency across teams allows for scale.
- Sustain — A DevOps system needs to be fully adopted and optimized .
Besides DevOps, find a balance between expediting your time to market and developing a winning product launch strategy. For example, you should develop conclusions about your target market and test them. Don’t wait to get customer feedback; this exercise should be done as soon as there is beta version available. Lastly, expect things to go wrong and be ready to pivot.
Tools for your product launch
There’s a variety of digital tools for enhancing time to market speed and effectiveness.
For SaaS apps and websites, InVision can be used to create specific mockups and designs for each webpage or product feature. This makes collaboration smooth and easy. Engineers and designers can create the initial prototype, then other stakeholders can jump in and provide feedback. This cuts down on updates following the official launch and gives the entire company insight into initiatives.
Additionally there are free and paid versions of project management software such as Trello and Asana, and smart spreadsheet tools like AirTable. Any product manager can create aSwiss army knife of software to optimize product development and delivery.
Product Lifecycle Management
Implementing these strategies and tools creates a system known as product lifecycle management (PLM). If your company lives off getting products to market quickly and creating new products often, enterprise PLM software is available. The leading vendors are Arena PLM, Autodesk Vault, and Omnify. As with other software solutions, the platforms automatically track and monitor product development stages. For example, you can automatically track labor cost, make sure resources won’t run out and get alerted when red flags occur.
Startups and soloprenuers will likely calculate these costs manually so they can stay under budget. But with the principles of DevOps and the vast world of SaaS tools out there, any entrepreneur can find ways to improve their time to market.
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