Are you wondering how to create a product launch checklist?
A survey of product managers highlights that only 55% of product launches take place on time, and 45% of launches get delayed by at least a month. According to another study, more than 30,000 new consumer products launch each year, and 95% of them fail.
If you are a startup CEO or CTO and want to save yourself from developing a software product that fails to meet technical specifications and falls short of target market expectations, then you are at the right place.
Creating a product launch checklist helps you develop, market, and deploy a software product that meets your business goals and generates revenue.
Developing a software product requires a deep understanding of development frameworks, architecture patterns, API integrations, cloud computing, etc.
If you don’t have a professional team with this relevant expertise to take on the complex task, then submit a request for a complimentary discovery call, and one of our tech account managers who managed similar projects will contact you shortly.
We will now discuss how to create a software product launch checklist in detail.
Create a Product Launch Checklist
Go through the following steps to ensure that your product launch goes smoothly:
1. Perform market research
The first step is to conduct a comprehensive target market analysis. You need to understand the pain points of your target audience and learn the requirements of end users to develop a product that meets these needs.
Perform the following under market research or customer development:
- Define your audience, including their motivation and demographics;
- Create user personas that highlight the current challenges of end users;
- Conduct a detailed analysis of your competitors, including their differentiators, strengths, and weaknesses;
- Implement social listening strategy – an approach that gathers and analyzes insights from discussions happening on social media channels. This strategy helps you zero in on prospective customers and existing customers already interacting with you and your competitors.
2. Product value proposition
Prepare your product value proposition, also called product positioning statement. This would help you find the market fit for your software product.
You need to answer the following questions in your product positioning statement:
- Who is the product for?
- What is the function of your product?
- How is your product different from your competitors?
The user and competitor research you performed in the first step will help you write an effective product positioning statement.
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3. Pitch your product statement to stakeholders
You would present your product value positioning document to key stakeholders. You need to ensure all the current and potential stakeholders and investors understand the value of your product and are on the same page.
Consider the following tips:
- Pitch your product idea with a hook. Highlight a key benefit in the opening that instantly grabs attention.
- Clearly articulate your market problem and emphasize the significance of the issue you intend to address via your product.
- Explain your solution effectively, highlighting unique capabilities, advantages, etc.
- Include visuals to convey your product idea effectively.
- Emphasize how your product would lead to quantifiable results (return on investments).
4. Develop a marketing plan
Form your marketing strategy that explains how you plan to reach your target customers.
How do you plan to create brand awareness? How would you drive demand?
The two common go-to-market strategies are flywheel and funnel strategy. These frameworks help with customer acquisition and retention.
The funnel strategy emphasizes acquiring new customers and converting them into paying customers. Once the sales are complete, the interaction with customers often decreases. It puts less focus on post-purchase activities.
The flywheel approach focuses on customer engagement and satisfaction. Retaining happy customers is the main focus of this strategy for the sustainable growth of the business.
The market channels you choose would highly depend on the target audience you identified initially. This could include:
- Email marketing;
- Search engine optimization;
- Paid ads, etc.
5. Form a product team
Clearly define the roles and responsibilities to undertake your product development successfully. You would need professionals related to the following:
- Software product development, including a project manager, application designers, developers, DevOps engineers, etc.;
- Quality Assurance, including application testers, code reviewers, etc.;
- The product marketing team, including a product marketing manager;
- Customer support team, etc.
Provide your project team with all the necessary tools and resources, including software tools, hardware equipment, project documentation, training materials, etc. Moreover, foster collaboration within your team.
6. Undertake product development
This is a critical stage in your product launch lifecycle as a perfectly designed and developed software product would help you achieve a successful launch.
Include the following under product development in your product launch checklist:
Product requirements and specifications
Gather and define your software requirements in detail, including features, functionalities, user interface design, and non-functional requirements like scalability, usability, maintainability, etc.
Provision of development infrastructure
Choose the software application development infrastructure for your developers to write, test, and deploy software efficiently. This includes IDEs (integrated development environments), testing frameworks, CI/CD pipelines, storage resources, etc.
Cloud computing services are popular today to utilize cutting-edge technologies for app development that are easily scalable with minimum startup costs. Leading cloud platforms include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, etc.
Technology stack selection
Decide on the technology stack for your software product, including programming languages, libraries, and frameworks.
For instance, for an Android application, your developers would use Java or Kotlin programming language, Android SDK, Espresso testing framework, etc.
Similarly, the stack selection would be entirely different for an enterprise-level application, such as C# programming language, ASP .Net cross-platform framework for a web application, API services, etc., NUnit testing framework, Entity Framework Core for database access, etc.
Software architecture design
Define high-level software application design, including individual components, modules, and interactions between these modules.
Plan an intuitive and engaging user experience and user interface. Consider the following under the user experience (UX):
- User personas;
- User journey;
- Information architecture;
- Wireframes, etc.
The user interface (UI) design consists of the following:
- Layout design;
- Responsive UI elements;
- Visual hierarchy;
- UI patterns;
- Style guides;
- High-fidelity prototypes, etc.
Your front-end developers should develop the front-end components of your software according to the UX/UI design performed in the previous step.
Your back-end developers should develop the core features, implement the back-end logic, handle database integrations, third-party integrations, etc.
Database design and development
Design and create the data models, database schema, etc. Implement the logic and feature for swift data access and storage according to your software requirements.
Your developers should analyze data requirements and choose between SQL and NoSQL database technologies.
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API integration and development
Design and develop APIs (application programming interfaces) to implement core features and communicate with external services. Practice caution while implementing external dependencies in your software product.
Development and Operations (DevOps)
DevOps practices streamline the product development lifecycle, foster collaboration between development and operations teams, improve the efficiency of the development process, etc.
Development and operations include the following:
- Process automation;
- Continuous integration;
- Continuous delivery;
- Continuous deployment;
- Infrastructure as Code (IaC);
- Configuration management;
- Continuous monitoring;
- Security as code;
- Release management, etc.
Implement extensive techniques to ensure your product security from potential threats and vulnerabilities. Perform data encryption, authorization, authentication, etc., to protect user data and the application.
Implement version control systems to manage code changes. Use tools like Git and Azure DevOps server (previously known as Team Foundation Server (TFS)).
Version control systems ensure effective collaboration on code files within your product team.
Plan to create software documentation, like technical documentation, API documentation, user guides, etc., for a better understanding of the product development process among developers, project managers, etc.
Backup and recovery
Implement a backup and recovery process to ensure data integrity, data availability, and minimum downtime in case of unexpected interruptions.
To develop an effective disaster recovery (DR) system, perform the following:
- Risk assessment;
- Define disaster recovery objectives, including recovery time objective (RTO), recovery point objective (RPO), etc.
- Choose recovery strategies, like backup and restore, warm standby, cold standby, etc.
- Select recovery sites;
- Perform data replication;
- Implement load balancing, etc.
Final review and sign-off
Conduct a final review to ensure all features are developed as planned. Moreover, resolve all issues before the final launch.
Read on how DevTeam.Space can help you conduct an extensive code review of your software product before the launch.
7. Perform product testing
Ensure each component of your product functions perfectly without any issues. Each software component should work seamlessly, individually and collectively. Moreover, your product should offer a great user experience.
You need to conduct the following for comprehensive product testing:
- Test all features for glitches or unexpected behavior.
- Verify inputs and outputs are as expected.
- Test performance, such as responsiveness and speed of your software product under different scenarios and user load.
- Evaluate the software for any bottlenecks or lags that could hinder software performance in the long run.
- Perform comprehensive software security testing to ensure your software is clear of all potential vulnerabilities, data breaches, etc.
- Ensure your software product performs data encryption, protects sensitive information, and meets all data privacy and security requirements.
- Test the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) to ensure your software product offers an intuitive and engaging user experience.
- Collect user feedback for any possible issues in software interaction, etc.
- Test your software product on different devices, screen sizes, browsers, and operating systems before launching to ensure your product’s compatibility.
- Analyze and resolve issues or limitations specific to a platform.
8. Launch internally
Launching a software product internally helps to gather valuable insights into the product’s working and performance and fine-tune it for a public release.
Software products require testing, validation, and improvement in a controlled environment before final launch. Some software products that can undergo internal launch could include:
- Enterprise applications, such as CRM or an ERP application;
- Software tools to streamline internal processes or workflows, such as for project management, data analysis, etc.;
- Learning platforms, like employee training software, learning management systems, etc.;
- Automation software tools aimed at automating repetitive tasks, etc.
9. Set your launch goals
Prepare to launch your product with clear goals. Your product launch goals would be significantly influenced by your type of business, industry, and target audience.
For example, if you have an e-commerce product, your launch goals could include conversion rate optimization, cart abandonment reduction, etc.
For a SaaS startup, churn rate reduction, user onboarding, etc. Similarly, for a financial service, your product launch objectives could include process automation, enhanced data analytics, etc.
You could implement a SMART goal strategy for setting achievable goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
The SMART framework helps set specific goals that are quantifiable, achievable in current circumstances, relevant to your broader business goals, and have a definite time frame for completion.
10. Set up sales and support
You need to have the right sales and support infrastructure in place after your product launch for successful customer acquisition, cross-selling, up-selling, user feedback collection, brand reputation building, etc.
Plan on the following in your product launch checklist related to sales and support:
Decide on the sales strategy
The complexity of your app, target audience, industry, etc., would influence your sales strategy. Two approaches include a sales-led strategy and a growth-led strategy.
The sales-led strategy focuses on direct sales efforts via personalized interactions. Businesses that offer customized solutions and emphasize customer relations adopt a sales-led approach.
For example, an enterprise software provider would prefer a sales-led approach to acquire customers by consulting them on their custom software requirements, etc.
A Growth-led strategy focuses on addressing a wider audience, nurturing leads, and buildings long-term relationships for business growth.
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You can adopt this approach via inbound marketing, content creation, etc., to build organic user interest and, eventually, user conversions.
For example, for a health and fitness app, you would adopt online content marketing on various channels, especially social media platforms, to engage health and fitness-conscious people.
You can offer free fitness plans, informative health-related blogs, etc., to build a community around your software product that organically aims for more user subscriptions and app downloads.
Conduct your sales team training
Prepare your sales team for the new product launch. Prepare training materials to train the sales team on the new software product features so they could better help with customer queries.
Make sure you cover every channel for customer support. According to Sprout Social Index, 76% of customers expect a business to reply within 24 hours on a social media platform.
To accelerate your customer support, you could set up a chatbot for automating replies to customer queries. AI-powered bots today help create a near-human-like interaction with your customers.
You also need to prepare help guides, release notes, troubleshooting guides, FAQs, etc., for the end users to use your product smoothly.
Also, update affiliate partners, if any, for the product launch date.
Create a press release
Prepare a press release to attract a wider audience and create a buzz around your software product.
Create an informative press release with a catchy headline and include all the key features and benefits of your product. Your press release should also contain information on your business, including history, mission, other products or services, etc.
Send your press release to several prominent platforms like PR Newswire, Business Wire, PRWeb, GlobeNewswire, etc.
11. Launch your product
Launch your product once you have gone through all the previous steps in the product launch plan checklist. Assign clear responsibilities to your team so they do not get overwhelmed by an influx of user engagement or queries on your software.
You could also plan to work as a part of the support team on the launch day to directly interact with the early customers and understand their reactions to your product.
12. Evaluate the results
You need to analyze the user feedback on your initial product launch. Be prepared to adjust your sales strategy in case things aren’t going as expected.
Set appropriate metrics to evaluate your product’s performance in the market. These could include:
- User acquisition metrics, like user conversion rate, number of active users, number of app downloads/installs, trial-to-paid conversion rate, etc.;
- Engagement metrics, like session duration, feature usage, daily/monthly active users, etc.;
- Customer satisfaction metrics, such as Net Promoter Score (NPS);
- Monetization metrics, like average revenue per use, revenue by payment method, refund rate, etc.;
- Performance metrics, including app/website load time, error rate, etc.
After careful consideration and evaluation of various metrics and customer feedback, you could iterate your strategies for product development, marketing, sales, etc., and improve on your product end goals.
Planning for a Product Launch Checklist?
Product launch is a critical event for any business. An actionable product launch checklist would enhance the efforts of your software engineers, developers, designers, marketers, etc.
A successful launch can be a daunting task, but with the right team by your side, you can release a high-quality product and meet your business goals effectively.
If you, as a business CEO or CTO, are on the lookout for experienced software designers, developers, testers, and technical project managers, DevTeam.Space can help you via a field-expert community of dedicated and vetted professionals.
By partnering with us, you save yourself from all the risks that come with hiring part-time freelancers, as all our developers work full-time on client projects and are managed by senior tech managers with experience in building similar products.
All our developers also follow an AI-powered agile process that helps with effective product development, team management, and close collaboration via features like task divisions, daily/weekly updates, etc.
If you want to know more about how DevTeam.Space can help you launch an innovative, secure, and feature-rich product, then send us your initial requirements via this quick form, and one of our account managers will contact you shortly.
FAQs on a Product Launch Checklist
A comprehensive new product launch checklist includes a definition of the target audience, analysis of competitors, decision of product specifications, product development, implementation of go-to-market strategy, and set up of customer support channels, etc. You also create promotional content and marketing materials, engage social media audiences, and finally launch the product. You can consult a product launch checklist template to nail your product launch requirements.
A successful launch ensures your software product leaves a positive impact on the target audience, encourages user adoption and conversion, helps achieve business goals, creates market awareness with effective marketing campaigns, etc.
Types of product launches include:
The soft launch strategy introduces the product to a smaller segment of the audience before the full-scale launch;
A hard product launch process is a high-impact launch that introduces the product to an entire user market;
Beta launch releases a beta version of the product to a small group of users or early adopters;
Limited edition launch releases a special version of the product for a limited time;
Feature launch introduces an additional feature or enhancement to an existing product.