The Most Commonly Cited Reasons for a Failed Product Launch
Since 2012 we have been investigating the various aspects that enable product teams to achieve high performance. Each year product launch is consistently cited as a problem area. There are several reasons why this area is so problematic for a wide variety of organizations. For instance, most respondents (63%) say they do not have a single person accountable for managing product launch and go-to-market activities.
When asked which role they feel is responsible for managing the product launch and go-to-market activities in their organization, product management is the most popular choice by far (40%). All of the other choices rank much lower.
Which role do you feel is responsible for managing the product launch and go to market activities in your organization?
A large majority of our respondents feel that their product launch activities are not properly resourced, brought to market effectively and properly staffed; 64% answered “no” when asked this question.
Respondents list a variety of causes for ineffective launches, including:
- “Poor levels of trust within and across the organization.”
- “We have a very small team to do everything there is in a product launch. Product management has no support resources and must wear many hats and juggle many balls.”
- “We govern by committee so there is no one product owner setting direction. We don’t have one person accountable for the direction or for handling conflicting priorities. Instead the committee sets direction and often everyone below them scrambles to get the work done.”
- “There is no direct ownership of products. Upon launch, it transitions to another department to run with, but there’s a lack of motivation/drive to make sure it’s profitable and communicated effectively to the masses.”
- “Lack of understanding of that part of the product management process (and product management in general).”
Organizations would do well to take heed of the voice of these product team members. An important starting point would be to make sure that there is one person singularly responsible for managing the launch. This can be a product manager, product marketer, marketing manager, or some other role. What matters is that someone is accountable for making sure that the large investments company’s are making in product development don’t get derailed during the launch process.
If organizations paid as much attention to launch as they do to product development it is likely that the high failure rate of product launches would improve.