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To ship or not to ship: That is the question.
You see a light at the end of the tunnel for your release. Should you green light it?
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This week's topic: You have worked hard with your team for months on a great feature. However, you’ve been hitting some snags. Do you ship it and learn or ditch it and move on to the next opportunity?
How realistic is scaling?
Getting close to your development team isn’t always a top priority for all product people, but as the team starts to sort out what type of solution they will be building, you should engage the team in conversations to gain their perspective on scaling in the future.
Since your feature going live will give everyone some great insights into many things - realizing the business value and gaps in the tech stack, to name a few - you may be a little early in the process to go full throttle into future designs. However, if things go well, you will be quickly put into a potential scramble to figure out how to expand.
Starting the initial conversations with the team will help you to start framing up phase two+ of any roadmap you’ll be building. Will you need to add more people or spend money on infrastructure? Having these discussions early will help bookmark some of your future needs and hopefully cut down on analysis time leading into the next phase.
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Has the value of this thing changed since you started?
We’ve all been there before. The delivery is taking slightly longer than expected, and everyone is starting to get on edge. Sometimes outside changes, such as market shifts, are either starting to get on the horizon or possibly they just popped up unexpectedly. What should you do in this scenario?
One approach when I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel is to re-assess the perceived value add this new feature will offer. Maybe this disruptive and innovative change you put in motion is trending in the direction of being marginalized based on a new announcement from some competitor. Maybe your company will face major changes in interest rates, meaning you need to instantly shift your focus away from the launch to something else.
All of these factors should be considered at different points throughout the process to ensure that directionally you are leading in the right direction with something that will have sustained value post-launch. Shifting focuses often can be a pain for you and your team, so I wouldn’t recommend doing it often if you can avoid it, but you should at least be looking into the future when you can to ensure your team continues to build the right/best thing at that moment.
What are the risks that come with launching?
As you start to see what the feature looks like and are (hopefully) collecting feedback from users, you should also start to collect and assess feedback. You must understand the risks of going live and factor that into whether you decide to launch, change, or pivot.
Questions you should consider asking yourself:
Does the change you will release have a chance to be completely disruptive in using your product?
Are there potential legal or compliance concerns you missed earlier in the process?
If you don’t have an on/off switch built in, how much effort will go into reverting changes?
As you start considering these factors, lay them out and discuss them further with your team. If any of these are potential show-stoppers, you may need to consider your options and how you might mitigate the concerns before green-lighting a launch. Moving forward despite any major red flags could be costly from a development and/or financial perspective, and, as the kids say, we don’t want that smoke.
It is important to work closely with your development team to get their perspective on scaling as early as possible. By having conversations with them from the beginning, you can make sure you're building something that can be easily scaled in the future. When you're about to launch a feature, it's also important to take a step back and reassess whether it's still valuable and consider any potential risks or concerns. If there are any major concerns, it's better to address them before launching to avoid any costly mistakes.
Random interesting reads
Instead of worrying about glorious plans, wonder whether your teams have what it takes to deal with surprises and the unexpected.
The ability to deal with surprises and the unexpected is the biggest obstacle to predictability, not your ability to predict.
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