Skip to main content

The Only Product Launch Checklist You’ll Ever Need

September 22, 2022

9 minute read

Product launches come in different shapes and sizes – and at different stages in the business. Initial launches kick off the company, later ones help it mature with the market or make a pivot.

What they all have in common is that the product launch can determine the success of the product itself.

There are probably a million things a product manager could think about when it comes to launching a successful product. But here we’ve listed only the most essential concepts and processes that you should have in place – before, during, and after the launch.

Using a Product Launch Checklist

Product Launch Checklist

Our product launch checklist is made up of the 10 most important things to do for each and every product launch you’re working on. So, make sure to bookmark this page and come back to it whenever it’s needed. 

Let’s dive into each product launch checklist item in more detail…

1. Do proper market discovery

Make sure there’s actually a market for the problem that you’re looking to solve. This is the classic first step of any product development process and is why it’s item one on our product launch checklist. Identify who your ideal customer profile is, then start digging around.

There’s ways that you can start getting an idea as to how many other customers match that ideal customer profile. Like, if you’re targeting finance managers in Germany, for example, you can look on LinkedIn and find out how many of them there are in a rough sense. So, just make sure you’ve checked that there is such a market and that market is interested in what it is that you’re building.

2. Undertake customer discovery and create your positioning statement

Once you’ve identified your ideal customer profile, the next thing on your product launch checklist should be to make sure they have a real problem that they’ll pay to fix.

Talk to at least 20 people that fit your profile, whether current customers or potential customers. Have a conversation about:

  • How big of a pain point it is for them.
  • How they solve that problem today. Did they buy a competing tool? Are they managing it manually on their own?

You can do old-fashioned surveys, phone calls, in-person interviews – just get in front of them and talk to them as much as you can.

From these customer discovery insights, you can develop your product positioning statement. The positioning statement is a concise description of how your product uniquely solves their problem in the exact way they need. Product positioning is closely tied to product value.

Essentially, you want to repeat your customers. Take what they say to you, and say it back to them in the same language. They’ll recognize what you’re offering as what they need. Establish this product positioning statement before the launch, and it will positively impact what happens after!

3. Ensure you are iterating throughout

This is an item on your product launch checklist that should be applied to nearly all stages of the product launch process. Starting now with prototypes and early designs, you should test and iterate at every chance you get! At every point on this product launch checklist, go to as many people as it makes sense to and check with them about what you’re building (and how you talk about what you’re building). This includes internal team members, beta users, early adopters, long-time users, potential customers – let them test that it actually works.

Why? Because your first releases aren’t going to be perfect. Even the best planned product releases end up with something that’s not quite right. You’ve got to be able to identify what’s not working and line up some iterations, so that you stay on track.

4. Set goals and define what Done is

Set goals for each release, and put in place ways to track it. You should know what you’re measuring and how you’re measuring it.

Define how many people you expect to use the product, the conversion rates, etc. Once you have some data, compare those expectations to what you’re actually seeing. Check your assumptions and iterate toward your goals.

Determine the definition of “done” – not just what it means to the developers, but a definition of what “done” means for this particular product or feature that you’re building. If the feature is live but no one’s using it, is the launch actually over? Are you done yet? Likely not.

In this way, you can also tie your goals into your definition of “done.” So the job isn’t over once the product is launched, rather once the product has its desired impact for the customer and the business.

5. Launch internally

Next up on your product launch checklist is conducting an internal launch, which is basically a product demo for the wider team. You’ll be able to test out not only the product itself, but also whether you understand how it works and how to talk about it! 

Internal launches also get key people involved with the process and make sure they understand how it works, too. This keeps the team on board and engaged with the product – and your colleagues will likely point out some blind spots or improvements!

6. Run a soft launch

Soft launches are a quiet way of releasing the product to a select few accounts so that bugs and other issues are fixed before the hard launch, when the wider customer base has access. This comes with two advantages:

  • You avoid a big mess of confusion and customer support tickets, which might happen if you hard launch a product without testing it like this first.
  • Your marketing and support teams have time to prepare awesome material and documentation about the product, based on real user observations, so that it’s ready to go for the hard launch.

Soft launches are often done with feature flags, which allow you to turn the product on for some users and keep it hidden from others.

By doing a soft launch, you are more likely to hit the hard launch date. Because what you’re actually doing is reducing the risk of things that can go wrong.

7. Hard launch

After reducing all that risk during the soft launch, the hard launch should be easy. You should be able to just turn off the feature flag or change its settings, and release the new product to all users!

Sidebar: How to set a product launch date
To pick the right product launch date you must understand your users and also be flexible.

Some theories say one day is better than another. For example, Tuesday might be a good day for B2B, while Saturday’s better for consumer launches. Listen to what your market needs and how your customers might respond.

But be ready to adapt to change. Even at the very last hour, something might go wrong with your product or your processes – or out there in the world. If a major event happens, then you probably shouldn’t launch that day. You definitely won’t make it into the news; you might not even make it into people’s newsfeeds. Wait until there’s a calmer, quieter moment to launch your new product or feature.

8. Align the messaging, everywhere!

Market the new product and make sure the messaging is consistent across the board. Remember that positioning statement from Item #2? Here’s where it really comes into play.

Put your positioning statement in:

  • marketing campaigns
  • sales collateral
  • pricing pages
  • support FAQs

Basically, every touch point with customers should be aligned on the new product’s messaging. All teams should update their processes and documentation, if necessary. Everyone who talks to customers should be able to explain what you’ve built, why you’ve built it, and how to use it.

9. Get the message out

Some product launches warrant a yell from the rooftop. Write a press release that makes your product sound as compelling as possible, and send it out to relevant media outlets.

In fact, you can write a press release upfront, even before the product is built, as a test of its potential value and selling power. Iterating on this is way cheaper than iterating on code and functionality.

The upfront press release will help you test whether you’ve got the right positioning and the right functionality, the right stuff in place – which boosts confidence that you could launch a product and it would be successful.

10. Conduct a retrospective

Of course, there has to be a retrospective. This is the final stage in your product launch checklist and we recommend conducting a retro about the launch itself and also the whole building process. 

  • What have you learned in the process of creating this thing? 
  • What have you learned about the process of creating this thing? 

At ProdPad we’re advocates of continuous discovery and continuous learning, so a thorough retrospective is definitely on our essential checklist. For more, check our tips for a successful product launch.
And that’s the complete list. I mean, it’s not every single thing you’ll need to do when launching a new product or a new feature, but it’s certainly the things that are truly important to have on your go-to product launch checklist. So, as long as you can check these things off as you plan your launch, you should make a success of it. Good luck

You path to product launch success

Sign up to our monthly newsletter, The Outcome.

You’ll get all our exclusive tips, tricks and handy resources sent straight to your inbox.

How we use your information

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *