Product launch checklists are good tools for beginners to help identify what they don't know and help them ask better questions. But a checklist can create more problems than they solve if not used properly. In this article I'll explain why.
I shared this tool in a previous article. It compares your confidence level with unknowns. The two variables have an inverse relationship. When confidence levels are high (left) the number of unknowns are fewer. This is a situation with a high degree of predictability. You are in familiar and comfortable territory. And that's where a product launch checklist makes the most sense.
When confidence is low and unknowns are high (like entering new markets or new product categories or you have an inexperience team) the situation is highly unpredictable. There are simply too many unknowns with low predictability. You are in unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory. And this is where a product launch checklist can get you in trouble. The structure and direction of a framework makes the most sense in this situation.
Where you get into trouble is when you assume a checklist is a one-size-fits-all solution. It's not. It has a purpose and it's good for that purpose, but it's not good for all situations.
Below you will find a launch checklist to help you get started if you don't know where to start. I pulled it from my document cemetery. It's in a sequence that matches the BrainKraft Product Launch Framework. It's a good starting point to help spark team discussion and identify problem areas.