Product launch checklists are good tools for beginners to identify what they don't know and help them navigate in the right direction. They are also a good tool when you don't launch products frequently and need a refresher. But a checklist can create more problems than they solve if not used properly.
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 is fewer. This is a situation with a high degree of predictability. You are in familiar and comfortable territory. You know what to expect. That's where a product launch checklist makes the most sense: routine, turn the crack product releases. No surprises to worried about.
When confidence is low and unknowns are high (like entering new markets or new product categories or you have an inexperienced team) the situation is highly unpredictable. There are simply too many unknowns and the predictability is too low. You are in unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory. 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.
You get into trouble when you assume a checklist is a one-size-fits-all solution that considers every possibility for you. It doesn't. It has a purpose and it's good for that purpose, but it's not good for all situations.
Below is a link to a launch checklist (PDF) 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.
A product launch checklist is just the beginning of planning a remarkable product launch. If you want to have a really amazing product launch take the BrainKraft Launch Readiness Workshop.
UPDATE: Updated the Product Launch Checklist to version 2.