A product launch is a team sport. Having a good team is half the battle of planning and executing an effective go-to-market effort.
There are 4 primary roles of an effective product launch team (feel free to use go-to-market team if that’s the language used in your company).
The four roles are the launch director, launch ambassadors, the project manager, and the executive sponsor.
The Launch Director
The Launch Director is the person accountable for product launch success. They do more than just managing the launch team. They drive the team to a predefined business outcome, the launch objectives. <<link>>
The Launch Director makes the final go/no go decision to proceed with a product launch. They can say “no” when things don’t feel right, even when the rest of the launch team is saying “yes”.
A good Launch Director has enough knowledge about how each part of a business works, and how each part interacts with the other. But they likely aren’t experts in any one area.
Launch Ambassadors are the people that represent the functional areas of a business that is impacted by a product launch.
They need subject matter expertise in their area of responsibility (finance, legal, product, support, etc.). These are the people the launch team relies on to give them guidance in areas they are unfamiliar with.
Cast a wide net when you are unsure of whom should participate on your launch team as a Launch Ambassador. You can always pare the team down later.
The Project Manager
The Project Manager manages the schedule of launch deliverables and activities. In a large company this person could be assigned to the launch team from the Project Management Office (PMO).
In a smaller company, the Project Manager is either the Launch Director or one of the Launch Ambassadors.
They are the cat herders. The unsung heroes that nudge the project forward and report on things like critical paths and resource conflicts. It’s detailed work and if you don’t like to do it, make sure you get a Project Manager to help you with it.
The Executive Sponsor
The Executive Sponsor is a critical resource for strategic product launches. They help by representing the launch team at the executive table.
They are very effective at getting much-needed resources and providing guidance on navigating a complex organization.
An Executive Sponsor is optional for a product launch that isn’t a high priority.