1. Plan the release
While you’re still in the planning phase for a new feature, it’s a good idea to also think about how you will release it. This is something often done within the design process.
Things you should incorporate into this include:
- Who will see this feature first? (Are there internal or external beta groups?)
- What is success for this feature?
- Who will see the feature once it’s in a steady state? (Is this for VIP customers or everyone?)
- Is there important timing tied to this release, such as an event or special time of the calendar year?
Tools that will help you with this include product delivery and tracking tools.
2. Build awareness
Awareness around a release is important for both internal and external groups. Within your organization, do teams have the support they need to be successful? Think about what your sales, marketing, customer success, or any other team will need in terms of understanding the feature being released, and how to answer any questions they might face. Externally, awareness should be tied back to how you will measure success.
Tools that will help you accomplish this include go-to-market plans, centralized information repositories, and any other tools that will help your teams (and customers!) stay connected, informed, and collaborative.
3. Measure your release
After the release has happened, how will you know if it was successful? Because you already thought about success metrics in the planning stage, you should be ready to measure whether or not it was successful.
Tools that will help with this include those that surface sales and ops metrics. Also, it’s important to consider these together—look at performance and monitoring metrics, support requests by volume, and qualitative feedback from customers and prospects.
4. Celebrate and recognize
Take time to celebrate your wins. Shipping software is like a muscle, the more frequently you do it, the easier it is to execute. If you ship less frequently, the process begins to atrophy and the action becomes more difficult. Celebration (even for small wins) provides motivation to continue practicing the act of shipping, and results in more stable services and products.
5. Reflect and iterate
Software is never done, and neither is a process for software delivery. After the release has occurred and you’ve paused to enjoy the moment, now it’s time to reflect back on what went well and what didn’t. Reflect on both process and product. Tie process back to culture—consider the tools that you use for process, what enabled you to do more and what was a hindrance? Use this feedback and apply what you learned from measuring success in the planning phase for the next release. Learn how you can adjust and improve upon what you shipped.