Exiting the Evaluate Phase, you would have identified the constraints (speed bumps) that can get in the way of achieving the launch goals. You would do this by conducting a Launch Readiness Assessment on the functional areas that are impacted by a launch. The Launch Readiness Assessment would reveal the most critical areas that need your attention and establishes a baseline for improving launch readiness.
A cross-functional launch team is vital to a successful product launch. As the Launch Owner you can’t possibly have expertise in every functional area in your company. You get that expertise through a cross-functional launch team.
Many organizations use cross-functional teams but don’t get the value they could. The whole point of a cross-functional team is to get more stuff done, much better, in less time. Unfortunately many cross-functional teams don’t get proper support from management which can result in a lack of accountability for individual contributors on the team. What it means for the Launch Owner is extra work behind the scenes scrambling to finish deliverables that someone on the team didn’t complete.
There are four roles on the cross-functional launch team:
- Launch Owner
- Executive Sponsor
- Functional Area Representatives
- Project Manager (appears mostly in larger companies)
The Launch Owner is the leader of the launch team and has accountability for achieving the launch goals. The Executive Sponsor is an often overlooked role that can be enormously valuable particularly in larger organizations. The Executive Sponsor can serve as a mentor to the Launch Owner and provide muscle in the organization when needed. Functional Area Representatives are individuals from the departments affected by a product launch. They need the authority to represent their department much in the same way an ambassador does for a country. Project Managers provide support to Launch Owners when acting like a chief of staff, apprising you of problem areas and keeping track of action item details.
The Product Launch Essentials seminar covers each role in more detail and provides a complete set of tools to help you set expectations, organize the product launch team, and drive results.
Launch Team Tracker
One of the tools we share in the seminar is the Launch Team Tracker. It’s a simple tool for capturing action items, issues and decisions while conducting launch team meetings. The Launch Team Tracker helps you hold team members accountable for their action items and gives you a way to document action item status, new issues, and decisions that are made. How many times have you revisited an issue that was already addressed, losing valuable time in the process?
The results of your Launch Readiness Assessment will reveal launch readiness gaps. Don’t panic if you discover there are more things that need to be fixed than you have time or resources to address. This is normal. The key is to focus on the few that have the most impact on achieving your launch goals.
The output of the Fill Gaps activity will be the plans that address your launch readiness gaps, and is one of the first activities the launch team should tackle. These plans will be referenced in the Product Launch Plan that is built in the Execute Phase.
Next: Execute Phase
In the final installment I’ll introduce you to the Execute phase, where you’ll build the Product Launch Plan, monitor launch progress and report to management on how the product launch is progressing.