Do you have a product launch template that you use to drive product launches?
Yes! We have a tiered launch playbook system that enables us to provide transparency to our product management partners about the activities we do depending on the size and complexity of the feature launch.
Big fan of the book "The Checklist Manifesto" by Atul Gawande. Templates can take some of the pressure off of remembering all the small details, especially when you're a little tired leading up to the big day!
BUT! Don't over-rely on templates. Solve for the customer not the template.
Yes, my team uses a document template for what we call a Launch Guide, and what at prior companies I’ve called a GTM Plan or a Product Marketing Brief.
The document template is organized into sections that cover a wide variety of topics around the launch, such as the beta and GA launch timing, the members of the launch team, description of target customer and relevant need, summary of competitive research, the messaging framework for the new product, links to key launch resources, and a whole lot more.
For the smallest launches, it’s not required for the PMM to create a Launch Guide, and for the somewhat smaller launches, it’s unlikely that the PMM is going to fill out every section of the Launch Guide. The sections of the Launch Guide are intended to ensure that the PMM and the launch team have thought through every consideration around the launch.
It’s useful to set up a hierarchy of launch information that is always available to any internal stakeholder (e.g., a sales rep, etc.):
1) A product launch tracker that lists every upcoming release, with basic info about what the release is, its timing, who the PMM point person is, etc. For releases deemed more important (i.e. releases with larger launch size), the product launch tracker also shows a link to…
2) ….the launch guide, allowing the internal stakeholder to drill down and learn about the launch if they’re so inclined.
Yes, we do! We use a number of frameworks depending on the tier (T1 to T3) of the launch. These have changed throughout the year as we've grown, but at their core they include the information below...
- Core PMM Deliverables - Things like a Messaging Source Document (MSD) which outlines our buyers, their pain points, and all of our product messaging
- Sales Enablement - This includes the sales enablement resources and tools, presentations to the GTM teams, and the scope of how we plan to ready the sales team for a launch
Integrated Campaigns - Includes the marketing plans for the launch (promotion, social, AR, PR, internal comms)
- Web - This bucket tracks all the web pages we plan to update or create as part of the launch
- Content - Details things like launch blog posts, e-books, datasheets, and other pieces of content we create for the launch
Ops Readiness - This includes everything that makes sure we can actually sell the thing (if there's a SKU associated) and track the performance of the launch
With each of these we have a number of items that fall into each bucket. In our tracker we track delivery dates, owners, contributors, and other pieces of information relevant to making sure that we are executing on all pieces of the plan for a launch.
Yes, I do. We continue to tweak and refine it. The document serves as the single source of truth and artifact for each launch. Here's what in it:
Product/feature/capability narrative: A short story that provides context into the why behind the release.
Product/feature/capability overview: This is a snapshot of the what it is and why it's important. If you were giving a feature elevator pitch, this would be it.
Who cares: The primary and secondary audiences in a "think, feel, do" framework.
Goals: The top three things we want to accomplish and how we will measure success.
Deliverables: These are organized in a channel matrix with DRIs (directly responsible individuals who are typically the channel owners).
Product release date
Run of show: Organized into a table.
Performance against goals
Landing review notes
At Product School. we don't have a concrete template (yet) but we do follow a checklist to ensure that everything s iaccomplished prior to launch:
- Ensure that user analysis is up-to-date and complete.
- Know content strategy and channel distribution (including social media and email scheduling).
- Familiarize yourself with press distribution and media coverage.
- Clarify sales strategies for B2C and B2B (if applicable).
- Cover all FAQs and responses.
- Know all partnerships that will be centered around launch.
- Cover FAQs (again) and responses.
- Understand protocol for problematic cases.
- Ensure that product tutorials are in place and understandable.
Of course, each Product Manager should have their own checklist in addition to this. But most importantly, the end result of each checklist should encompass all company factors that are necessary for ensuring customer happiness.
You can check out a more detailed description of the list in this article.