I was reflecting on 2023; what I was most proud of and wished I could do over. Now, it's time to move on to 2024.
I'm going out on a limb to make a few predictions about the discipline of product launches in 2024, and I hope you'll indulge me.
Organizations finally start to reign in product launch chaos
The heroics of a few individuals push a launch to completion more often than most of us would like to admit. The market craves the predictability of a defined launch process. I believe this will finally change in 2024, with more emphasis on Day 1 Launch Readiness™.
Every organization must be prepared to promote (market), qualify sales opportunities, guide an opportunity to a purchase, process payment from a customer, deliver the product purchased, onboard customers, and provide help when needed. They acknowledge that marketing efforts waste resources if the rest of the organization isn't ready. We often focus too much attention on the product and the promotion, and not enough on the readiness of the entire organization.
I predict there will be a greater emphasis on launch readiness across the organization. Launch marketing will remain a big part of a successful launch but will take a back seat to launch readiness.
Product Launch Ops (LaunchOps) will emerge as a discipline to address product launch chaos
In 2023, we started to see the beginnings of software products designed to help automate the project management of a product launch. It is an essential first step. We've tried to find a suitable solution for years, but many use basic tools like spreadsheets.
Project managing a launch is tricky because it involves many cross-functional partners with distinct project management approaches. A one-size-fits-all approach will fail and has failed in the past.
Product Launch Ops (LaunchOps) will finally emerge as a discipline in mid-to-large-size organizations. It will focus on cross-functional readiness, ensuring the disparate parts of an organization are aligned to deliver Day 1 Launch Readiness.
Product marketing and product management will continue to play vital launch roles. Only now will they have a reliable process to improve overall launch readiness.
LaunchOps products will hit the market with tepid success
Some Launch Ops products have entered the market in 2023 and are getting a lot of attention. These early solutions are a nod to how big the LaunchOps problem is in the industry.
The market will initially view these LaunchOps products with great enthusiasm but disappoint users who need more than the products offer. The primary reason is the products will be primarily project management tools. Most mid-to-large companies already have multiple project management tools and don't want to be saddled with one more, or forced to give up their favorite.
Another issue is that early LaunchOps products will lack a launch process. This adds a burden on users to develop a launch process over time or be forced into processes that are ill-defined. What they want is a launch process that is out-of-the-box to build on.
The PMO will be instrumental in driving the Launch Ops Renaissance
The Project Management Office (PMO) will be in the driver's seat of the Launch Ops renaissance. The skill set needed to drive a cross-functional initiative like a product launch is unique, and the PMO typically has those skills. The PMO is also tasked (pun intended) with identifying and establishing standard cross-functional processes that drive alignment.
The challenge of the PMO is they are experts at managing projects and they lack product launch expertise. The PMO strives to systematize frequently recurring process and will adopt a product launch system when they find one that's a good fit for their organization.
This puts the PMO in the ideal position to facilitate and drive Launch Ops adoption.
2024 is the year of LaunchOps
I wish everyone a productive and prosperous New Year. I hope all your product launches will be a success.