It Feels Good To Launch

I’ve been working on a project at work for over a year now. We have a great team, lots of interesting ideas, and a fairly good balance of support and independence from the company at large. We are also well versed in agile development, conduct lots of user research and experiments, and are generally comfortable playing the long game and incrementally rolling out innovations over time. We have about all we need to succeed in building a new product. However, for some reason we only ‘launched’ the product today - after a year of building!

We could have launched in 3 months, but we kept postponing. All the deadlines were soft, and there was no consequence for pushing back the launch. We added features to make the experience more complete. We redesigned the site a few times based on user testing. We redid the codebase and application architecture a few times as well to keep up with the ever evolving design. Despite having a largely functional site for many months, we kept pushing off launch until we had everything super polished.

While I of course support the team and the decisions we make, I had been pushing to launch at every chance I got. Every few weeks we would have a ‘retro’, where we said what went right and wrong on our team recently. WIthout fail I would mention that we hadn’t launched, and that even though we didn’t feel ready it would be better to just do it than to keep postponing. A few months ago my dream came true, and the business lead on our team committed to the rest of the company we’d launch in early July. That set the first firm deadline for us to actual launch our product, and it’s something we’ve actually stuck to this time.

While it’s been a rough road, I’m so glad we have finally arrived. It feels good to actually get something done, to get out of perpetual development mode, and launch our product into the world. The second that we pushed the code to production tonight I felt both relieved and proud. The last week has been hectic, scrambling to get all the last minute features in and squash any remaining bugs. We worked really hard, and have produced a product that while still only a fraction of what it could become, functions well and looks great.

My team will now be able to serve and learn from real live users instead of conducting endless tests in a vacuum. We can now show everyone else in our company that we can actually deliver a product instead of just dreaming about one. We can now point our friends and family to an actual website to show them what we do all day. Most of all, our team now has a sense of accomplishment. We were tasked with making a new product for our company, and we have finally delivered it. It feels good to launch, and now the real work begins of trying to actually turn our new product into a real winner in the marketplace.