Agile Software Launches for Your Cloud Platform

Remember the days when a software launch was a big deal? They happened about every six months, or maybe even once a year They required cross functional teams, big project plans, and meetings–lots of meetings. Product marketers were as important to the success of the platform as developers. But those days are behind us now. We’re in the cloud. We’re Agile. We embrace change, code fast, and deploy often. No more need for launches, right?

Of course not, but even the best cloud companies with the most advanced development methodologies tend to falter when it comes to product marketing and software launches because they fail to modernize their marketing along with their development processes.

Let’s review some objectives of the old-school product launch and see if they still apply today:

  • Differentiate your product in the market and build brand recognition.
    Yeah, that’s important.
  • Communicate benefits to users and manage change.
    Client satisfaction and retention are more important than ever.
  • Create sales opportunities and prepare your sales force to sell it.
    Demand gen and sales enablement haven’t gone away.

And these are just the beginning. What if our new features require pricing and packaging changes? Perhaps they are up-sell or add-on features. Won’t they need codes in your CRM? Is your development team integrating the new features with your licensing framework? What about contract or EULA changes? The product marketer still needs to assemble and lead the operational readiness team.

The product launch is far from dead; it has evolved. Product marketers now need to be agile and embrace change too. We need to work in sprints, and often with little lead time before new features ship. There is nothing worse than dropping new features on your sales team without preparing them to sell them and the same goes for dropping new features on your clients without preparing them to use them.

Remember that one of the principles of Agile software development states, “business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project” and the product marketer is key to making this happen.

These are some of the topics I plan to cover on this site and I will update this post with links as I address relevant topics. For the early days, I’ll leave this post stuck to the top of the blog.

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Deploying Is Not Launching