Cover by Chris Vander Mey

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Chapter 7. How to Have a Great Launch

CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE (ALMOST) no more bugs to fix, you’ve built a product that your trusted testers love, and your team is proud of what they built. You have the system instrumented so you’ll know when you’re doing well. You even have a rough cut of a blog post from way back when you first defined the product.

It’s time to launch, and launching is more complicated than uploading files to a server. There are several major launch steps you can follow to ensure a quality launch:

  1. Just say no.

  2. Start a war room.

  3. Instill a sense of urgency in the team.

  4. Complete the launch checklist.

  5. Write the blog post.

  6. Roll the software out.

  7. Verify the software yourself.

  8. Respond to the positive and negative effects of your launch.

Just Say No

When you’re driving to launch, you must say no as often as possible to features, to bugs, and to changes in the user experience. If you don’t say no, you’ll never finish your software and you’ll never ship. There’s an industry aphorism that goes, “You launch the software you have, not the software you want.” This aphorism is sticky within the software industry because it’s true—sometimes you just have to ship your product, even when it’s not perfect, because shipping something good is better than not shipping something perfect. Most of us can agree that this statement is true, but it’s hard to enforce because the definition of “good” is arbitrary.

To remove some of the arbitrariness from this stage of the project, I check to ensure ...

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