Launching Product Features

When you launch a new product you can learn and adjust as the number of customers using it goes from zero to (hopefully) a lot. When you introduce a new feature to an existing product, you have to consider everyone that is already using your product. This makes learning and adjusting a little tricky unless you account for that in your feature launch strategy. Here are some tools and techniques that help you learn and adapt during your next feature launch.

Product Launch vs. Feature Launch. Product launches and feature launches both require a lot of research, planning, and coordination. But a product launch and feature launch are two different events. Each has unique goals and requires a different execution strategy for success. The folks from Product Plan discuss the differences between a product launch and a feature launch and suggest good practices and resources to help you launch your new product or feature.

(via @productplan)

The 5 Phases of a Feature Launch. The process of launching a feature has undergone significant changes in the last ten years. Feature launches used to be tied to code releases. Feature flags separated code release from feature launch. These feature flags represent a switch that you can use to turn on a feature separate from when you release code. Adil Aijaz explains how this switch allows you to phase in the launch of new features. You can use these phases to conduct experiments and adapt your feature as more people begin to use it.

(via @adilaijaz)

Product manager’s guide to using feature flags in release management. Application development is always an iterative process: you start with a minimum viable product (MVP), add features, and wait for user feedback before deciding what to change and what new enhancements to add. With feature flags (also known as feature toggles or feature switches), your product team can iterate on the fly, allowing you to test and validate different versions of a feature in a highly segmented and controlled process. The folks at Apptimize share how to use feature flags to implement a more agile, more controlled, and less risky method of managing your product development pipeline.

(via @apptimizeAB)

How To Launch New Features With Testing. Product launches are an exciting but hectic time and usually involve some risk. Hoping that a new release will improve conversion just doesn’t cut it anymore. The good news is that there are ways to both mitigate risk and learn valuable insights without negatively impacting your conversion. A good approach is to test new features to a subset of your audience and measure behavior upfront, before a launch to all customers. Paul Bernier walks through an example of how to conduct a feature launch with testing. For this example, we’ll use a web application for a large online retailer.

(via @sitespect)

How to Announce New Features and Drive User Adoption.  It’s not enough to create amazing new features for your product. You also need to make sure those features get the awareness they require for trial and user adoption. To avoid an unsuccessful launch and weak usage, your team needs to build awareness with the target market while simultaneously setting proper expectations for new users. Andre Theus explains how you can build awareness about your new feature, increase user adoption of those features, and gain accolades about those features.

(via @atheus)

Kent McDonald
kentjmcdonald@gmail.com

Kent J McDonald writes about and practices software product management. He has IT and product development experience in a variety of industries including financial services, health insurance, nonprofit, and automotive. Kent currently practices his craft for a leading agriscience company and provides just in time resources for product owners and business analysts at KBP.media and Product Collective. When not writing or product managing, Kent is his family’s #ubersherpa, listens to jazz and podcasts (but not necessarily podcasts about jazz), and collects national parks.