The launch celebration is over, the product is live, and there’s finally time to take a (quick) breather after weeks of intense work. But what happens after a product launches?
The product manager still has a large role in maintaining a product after it launches, and this post will provide a high-level overview and cover several aspects of the post-launch phase.
Perhaps one of the most important immediate steps to take after a product launches is to conduct a retrospective with the team that worked on the product. There are many ways to approach this but most commonly the group discusses the following:
- What went well
- What could have been improved
- Actionable steps for future projects
The retrospective is important because it gets the group talking and allows everyone to reflect on their efforts and voice their concerns or suggestions for improvement. This aligns with agile methodology because the goal is to improve with each new iteration.
Depending on the company and size of the group, it can be helpful to have someone who wasn’t directly involved in the project collect feedback from the team. This allows for more candid and honest feedback at the expense of making the process a bit more complicated.
At my company the project manager owns the retrospective, so at the end of each sprint/iteration the project manager gets the entire team together to discuss the three points listed above. To ensure anonymity we use a collaboration board called IdeaBoardz, which is a quick and simple tool that allows for upvotes and real-time editing so the same feedback isn’t repeated.
Regardless of how it’s done, the retrospective should lead to actionable steps for future iterations and projects.
Another common practice for PMs after a product launches is to start planning for the next phase of the product. Oftentimes this involves creating an opportunity assessment, which provides the business case and vision of future versions of the product.
Opportunity assessments vary across companies and industries but typically share the following content:
- Competitive research
- Measuring success
Again, this list is not exhaustive and opportunity assessments essentially allow the PMs to critically think about next steps and translate those steps into a viable opportunity for the business.
As a PM, I’ve had plenty of experience opening JIRA tickets whenever an issue or bug is discovered. The product manager is considered a SME (subject matter expert) for that particular product or domain, so a lot of questions and issues get routed to the PM for next steps. Apart from opening tickets to track bugs, PMs also communicate with other business partners, such as Marketing or Sales, to ensure all questions and potential issues are addressed.
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