Even the best software can have a poor launch if not executed correctly. With the fast-paced environment we work in, it is crucial to understand the biggest roadblocks stopping you from having a successful software launch.
There are three big mistakes I often see in many software projects which hamper success. The first is poor use and timing of quality assurance, the second is making last-minute changes to the software right before launch, and finally, poor communication with end-users.
Most of the time, QA is set up for failure in software development. It is often a separate team with no actual knowledge of the product and not familiar with the business contexts behind feature decisions. The best QA without proper business context is worse than a stakeholder trying the software in a staging environment and ensuring the functionality fits the business needs.
A better approach to QA is to, along with traditional QA, have product stakeholders run through the software and make sure it works as expected. Doing this regularly can keep the project going in the right direction and give the product launch a higher chance of success.
Last-minute changes directly before a launch can significantly impact the chances of success when launching software. It is essential to put a feature freeze directly before launching software so that all features can be tested and QAed without the risk of new features introducing bugs to the system.
There is always a push to creep the scope before a launch. New features and functionality can always be added to make the product better. Adding those new features and functionality into the launch can significantly increase the risk of problems. Often it is best to hold off on adding those features until the launch is successful and then incrementally add them in afterward.
Poor Communication with End-Users
The final big mistake when launching a software product is poor communication with end-users. Suppose the launch is for an existing product. In that case, users can often be confused and not know exactly how to use the new features—communicating with users beforehand or designing a tour to walk them through the new features can guide them through the new functionality and set their expectations for the launch. Done right, this does two things. It should show the end-user the new features and offer them at a high level how to use the new features.
Launching software isn’t easy! But being aware of these mistakes can give you a big leg up and increase your chances of a successful launch! If you are struggling to launch your software successfully and need help, reach out to me, and I’m happy to chat!