DEC 2019 DOUG JENNER
The product launch is the climax of all your hard work as a Product Manager. After all the time and effort put into developing the product you always hope for those rave reviews and ‘why didn’t we think of that’ echoes from your competitors. The reason they didn’t ‘think of that’ has nothing to do with brainwaves or lightbulbs. It is almost always to do with robust planning - and the lack of it - in each of these key areas:
When you develop a new product, you need to be able to socialise ideas across the entire organisation. Who has the good ideas and who sees the good ideas? Potentially everybody. No-one has a monopoly on ideas and concepts, so the more people you involve, the wider you can cast your net. When every member of every team is plugged into Prodigy, ideas are socialised quickly and effectively and your team members feel more fully engaged with your brand. The ‘chatter’ facility in Prodigy enables people to discuss and develop ideas informally before channeling them further up the line.
Gather detailed evidence that the product will be successful and document it fully. Where does all this evidence come from? Who provides it and who keeps it? Documentation that is spread over different floors, different cities or even different countries creates a particular type of pain - known only too well by the product manager! With Prodigy, everyone sees everything they need to - no matter where they are.
Fully document all the time spent interacting with clients, consultants and your own market-facing staff. Filing conversations and interactions separately makes it nigh on impossible to build the big picture. Complexity and duplication are the enemies of the Product Manager, so do everything you can to streamline. This is another major advantage of Prodigy because it allows you to keep everything in one centralised, locked-down repository.
Be able to demonstrate you’ve done the homework on each of your intended markets. It is not just Senior Management who know your markets the best. It is also your marketing teams. Once you know you have the product right, you must make sure you have marketed it properly so that you can deliver the perfect message for your target audience. When marketing teams are not engaged in the market research process, they can end up delivering messages to the market that are at odds with your company’s product strategy. Once again, Prodigy can help, by engaging all relevant teams at the level appropriate to their work.
The marketing team must be a key part of the product management team. This means not only knowing when the marketing team’s budget deadlines are, but also knowing how far in advance of these deadlines the marketing strategy needs to be agreed. When you can schedule these into your workflow, you can be sure that nothing will get missed.
Like just about everything in project management, marketing cannot be done in an ivory tower. The best product management tools will enable you to share your planned approach with the marketing team in real time. When you let the marketing team work with you on all of this and also include the business development team, you’re doing all you can to get the very best from their skillsets and build the shared view that the product launch is a full team exercise.
Avoid any last minute surprises such as a regulation blocking you off or claims of client indifference. What’s that? There’s a different jurisdiction in China and it is threatening to prevent a successful launch of your new product? And you’ve only just found this out? That’s not good enough, is it? A product management tool like Prodigy enables you to be aware of regulations and jurisdictions and make them part of your planning and development processes from the very outset. There will be no unpleasant surprises or regulatory hitches, because all of this is built into the plan from the beginning.
Once you have done your homework, recorded all your assumptions, built the perfect marketing plan and created a team approach to the launch, you just need to clear that last hurdle - having everything approved. Allowing the senior management team to make a full and thorough review of your proposal is absolutely vital, but strangely, it is often still not done well. The approval needs to be carried out from a position of having a comprehensive insight into the opportunity, the rationale behind why it is considered that the product will be a success, the evidence to support an optimistic outlook, and the financial benefits of moving ahead.
If your product management tools are not doing this for you today, without burying your senior managers under several hundred pages, then the approval process may be flawed. The product manager will be exposed for not having highlighted critical evidence at the crucial time. But if you can do this well, then everyone has buy-in. And everyone now shares in the success or failure of the product. Prodigy is the most complete product management tool on the market. When deployed across your entire organisation, it will give you the best chance of success in each of these 5 areas.
As we all know, in product management there is no cast iron guarantee of success, but paying attention to each of these 5 areas will give your new product the best possible chance of success for one simple reason: your organisation will always be behind you, come rain or shine.