Product launches are stressful, particularly for product managers. They have to coordinate team members from different departments and choreograph a series of deadlines all the while maintaining a bird’s eye view of the entire process. When you consider the huge stakes of getting it all right, launching a new product can feel like a mammoth task.
A lack of planning could force you into a situation where you have to choose between launching with a shoddy product or delaying the launch altogether. This is why preparation and organization are key. Enter the product launch checklist, which you can customize to the needs of your startup to provide your team with a roadmap toward a successful product launch.
We’ve gone ahead and created a product launch checklist template for you to use right here.
The benefits of working with a product launch checklist
A product launch is a team sport, and the product manager is the coach. It is their job to oversee and facilitate the entire launch process while coordinating all aspects of it with the rest of the team. Without the right checklist, this would be extremely difficult to do, and the risk of missing vital steps along the way increases significantly.
There are many ways a good checklist eases the launch process:
It serves as a roadmap throughout the entire process. This is the standard function of any checklist, of course, but the benefit cannot be understated. It is a single point of reference for the product manager and the team to continually check in on progress and ensure that nothing has been skipped.
It manages stress levels and can help to avoid burnout within your team. By breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, the whole process can feel a lot less daunting and give you the headspace to focus on one small step at a time.
It facilitates teamwork. This is where a shared and collaborative checklist comes in handy. Product managers can assign tasks, and everyone on the team can check in on progress at both individual and global levels.
It makes it easy to check in on goals. A secret to a successful product launch strategy is to continually check in on the goals and objectives. This ensures that the team is working toward the same thing and is on track to getting there.
It builds resilience against the unexpected. Things go wrong, and the unforeseen will inevitably happen. A good checklist prepares you for this and allows you the space to create plan Bs and contingencies.
It is a powerful reporting tool. First of all, a good checklist factors in data collection and analysis. Secondly, it provides you with a transparent and detailed paper trail of the entire process, which will come in handy when writing reports and communicating with stakeholders.
What makes a good product launch checklist
The best product launch checklists are based on a larger product launch plan or go-to-market strategy. With this, you can populate a checklist that breaks down the entire project into smaller tasks, subtasks, steps, and processes. A good checklist is one that can be shared with all of your team. Each task is assigned to an individual or department with their respective due dates and updateable statuses. This ensures accountability and facilitates collaboration.
Some of the cornerstone elements of a typical product launch checklist may include:
Market research — this helps you identify your target audience, identify their needs and pain points, and find the best way to connect with them before, during, and after your launch. Developing a buyer persona helps you decide on what approach to take, whether you’re targeting new customers or existing ones.
Goal identification — your market research allows you to understand your product positioning and how your new product or feature fits into your company’s goals.
Marketing plan — a full overview of how you’re presenting your new offering to the world. This includes your social media strategy, press releases, blog posts, webinars, media packs, and so on. Your marketing campaign should also create hype in the run-up to your launch date.
Sales and support team training — once news of your new product gets out, your support team needs to be ready to answer questions and give information to new and prospective clients. This means they need to be well-versed in every aspect, from features to pricing and release dates. You should provide the team with the necessary materials, including release notes and a list of FAQs.
Testing and beta testing — allow enough time for testing and the inevitable ironing out of any creases that may (or will) arise from it.
Launch event — this is a great opportunity to generate exposure. Involve the press, influencers in your industry, and anyone else who might be a good vessel to carry your message forward and reach more people.
Post-launch evaluation — the work doesn’t stop once the product has been launched. Success must be defined through pre-determined, measurable results. Collect data and metrics that can provide you with the information you need to understand how close you have come to reaching your pre-determined goals.
Ditch static spreadsheets: upgrade to an interactive checklist
If you search for ‘Product Launch Checklist Template,’ you’ll find no shortage of generic spreadsheet templates and checklists. Despite their apparent popularity, physical lists or static spreadsheets lack the functionality to suit the complexity of a product launch process leaving you to do a lot of extra legwork outside of your checklist.
These include collaboration features such as team member tagging, assigning due dates, and sending built-in reminders. Yet, many product and project managers still rely on spreadsheets to carry out their work and try to squeeze it into their processes.
This is where Notion comes in as a great roadmap solution for cross-function product launch teams. Product managers can create custom roadmaps and roadmap views for every department based on time-saving templates like the one we share below.
Notion helps to facilitate communication between teams and allows for embedding supplementary content like internal documents, video, images, and workflow boards.
Use Notion’s product launch checklist template
To help you begin, we’ve created a product launch checklist template that you can use. Set up is simple. The checklist includes a comprehensive list of tasks associated with product launches that can be easily customized based on your needs. So all you have to do is select tasks, add due dates, assign the tasks to team members, and share it with your team. And just like any template, it’s a starting point — you’re welcome (and encouraged) to ax any tasks that don’t feel relevant and add any additional tasks your team must complete by-product launch.
Now you can get to work, safe in the knowledge that you’re well organized, prepared, and on your way to a successful product release.
Try out the Notion product launch checklist template here.