As many of you probably know, releasing a product to market involves a whole system of moving parts. It’s not as simple as coming up with a great idea and then seeing it on the shelf a few months later. If only! The only way to ensure you’re meeting time-to-market targets for your new products, and thus having a significant impact on market share and profitability, is to synchronize all of those moving parts. It’s a highly-orchestrated process that requires a comprehensive release management initiative. Instead of getting caught up in individual roles or parts of the product release, every department within your company needs visibility into how their piece, which may consist of multiple projects, are impacting the larger release schedule of the product portfolio. Everyone needs to be actively assessing the big picture via a centralized roadmap, proactively communicating any potential roadblocks, collaborating on release details, and working towards one common goal: a successful product release.
And really, it doesn’t matter if you’re releasing products to market or applications to the business — the same rules still apply. In fact, in our technology-driven world, IT often has a starring role in developing the software components or applications embedded within the products you use every day.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do all interested parties in the company have access to the requirements delivered in a release?
- How will this product be messaged and marketed?
- Is everyone along the supply chain well informed about the timing and impact of release?
- Is there a central location where all release and product content is stored?
- Are you able to deliver a long-term visual roadmap to your customers and stakeholders?
If you’re tracking all of this information via emails and static spreadsheets, you have my sincere condolences because you’re likely living in spreadsheet hell. Increase the number of products you’re releasing, and the complexity increases exponentially. I know organizations are struggling with juggling all of these release details — it’s exactly why we made the enhancements we did to the release management capabilities in the newest version of our software. In the end, with the right tools and processes, you will be able to harness the power of all of that disparate information you’ve been tracking to get products out on time.
One company that has been quite successful in product release management is Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. As the world’s second fastest growing company, they’ve had to learn quickly what it means to look at the bigger picture when it comes to ensuring their products are delivered on time to the market. Check out this fascinating webcast to learn more about how they do it.