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9 Essential Items for Any Product Manager’s Checklist

No, this is not a list of to-dos that includes pointing a domain name, flipping a switch, and sending a blast email. This is a launch checklist that comprehensively addresses the role of a product within an organization; a truly commercially viable product.

1) Create a Cross-Functional Launch Team

Select members from all functional areas to serve on the Launch team:  Product Management, Marketing, Sales, R&D, Support/service, Management.

2) Market Problems

Have you validated the understanding of market problems the product was developed to solve. Do all major and most minor features have a direct relationship to the market problems? Can you demonstrate this against the strategic vision of the product?

3) Customer/Market Requirements

Have you reviewed the customer and/or market requirements that resulted in the developed feature set? Do marketing and PR have the specifications aligned with requirements and problems so they can craft effective materials? Does support the proper understanding and background to sufficiently support the features in the user base?

4) Competitive Alignment

Have you reviewed the competitive analysis to break down where your product lines up with the competition? Make sure any product launch and sales materials reflect this.

5) Market Position

Be sure to review market positioning for the product and validate that it is still correct. An  effective analysis of the market is essential at every step in the process. Pay particular attention to the product’s key differentiators and their value in the market. Work with marketing and sales to such that all content aligns well with the product’s positioning. Review corporate strategy, mission, vision and goals to determine, in real time, product alignment. Adjust as necessary.

6) Pricing Strategy

Work with sales, leadership and product management to determine effective pricing strategies given the impact of sales cycles, and presumed (or known) support times and efforts. Be careful to remain exceptionally conservative about projected market share.

7) Product Roadmap

Review your product roadmap to ensure that all the planned features are in the new product. Make sure there are no references to omitted or delayed features in launch, support and marketing materials.

8) Clarify the Desired Outcome

Set specific, measurable goals for this Product Launch. Slare momentum is the most common desired outcome. What are other metrics that can be measured? Estimate how many views, leads, sales and profit will result from executing your launch plan. Be sure to consider market planning and exposure over the subsequent 30, 60 and 90 days. Develop an ROI projection for the Launch.

9) Risk Management

Discuss as a team the risks to the launch plan, particularly those risks that might delay the launch or cause the launch to fail.  Where possible, develop contingency plans against these risks.

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