From getting publicity to elevating customer loyalty and driving revenue, a product launch is great opportunity to maximize the impact of your company. However, this process often requires significant coordination across multiple teams.
Product launches are multilayered and involve intertwined activities and timelines. Even the smallest hiccup in the system can delay the entire process, create cross-departmental confusion, lead to errors and continuous changes in the project’s scope—and force your business to go over budget.
Budget and timeline overruns typically have a root cause in poor execution. If you want your product launch to make an impact, you must ensure all your people, systems, and tasks are aligned. Task management software helps with execution by making it easier for you to sequence, monitor, and manage the events leading up to and even going past your product launch date.
Getting started with task management software
While features and functionality may vary from vendor to vendor, most task management software solutions have you start your plan with a “board,” where all activities and information related to the project will be housed. Begin by naming your board Product Launch, for instance.
After setting up your board, you’ll create “buckets.” Each bucket is a high-level, virtual place where you organize tasks into workstreams, project phases, or topics.
You may choose to create separate buckets according to teams or departments—for example, Marketing, Product Development, and Human Resources. Or create your buckets by phases, such as Before Launch, Day of Launch, and After Launch.
Alternatively, each team may decide to create its own individual Product Launch board and buckets. For example, the product development team may create buckets called Planning, Prototyping, and Testing.
Ultimately, your task management software should offer the flexibility to organize and visualize boards and buckets in a way that works best for you and your team.
Create tasks and subtasks
Next, create tasks and subtasks within each bucket. Tasks are major steps or deliverables, while subtasks are the smaller activities that make each task happen.
Using the product development team buckets listed above (Planning, Prototyping, and Testing), the Testing bucket could be broken into two main tasks: Internal Testing and External Testing. Internal Testing subtasks may then include:
- Identifying participants
- Confirming interest/attendance
- Creating a questionnaire for testers to fill out
- Sending a questionnaire
- Gathering questionnaire feedback
- Compiling reports
- Integrating feedback into the prototype
Of course, many other tasks and subtasks could be included in this list. The benefit of task management software is that it enables teams to break down larger-scale activities into smaller, more manageable tasks—which ultimately feed into the overall goal of seeing your product launch through completion.
Assign accountability and add context to tasks and subtasks
Now, assign tasks and subtasks to team members. For example, assign John to the Internal Testing subtask of identifying employees to try out the prototype. Within the subtask, write a description such as “Internal Testing—research and invite 12 employees to test the new product prototype.” Then, add a start date and due date.
Your task management software also allows you to add resources within the task. You might add frequently asked questions to describe the new product’s features and functionality, as well as a list of team members who worked on product development. As John works on the task, he can refer to those resources for more information.
When anyone goes onto the product launch board, checks buckets, and views tasks, they’ll understand the context for each task and subtask, know who is working on what, and when everything is due. Plus, it‘s easy to see how each task aligns with one another and how teams work together.
Benefits of using task management software
Approaching a multifaceted undertaking like a product launch is best done with a plan. Task management software helps ensure that the plan is executed on time and on budget, making each step actionable and accountable. Let’s take a look at other benefits of using task management software for your next product launch:
Seamless integration with other systems and applications
Your task management solution should allow you to attach files, photos, and links within the tasks themselves. It should also sync with external apps your organization uses on a daily basis for email, scheduling, content creation, and other functions.
As an example, employees can include all project launch-related due dates in the task management software with important dates and priorities listed in their online calendars or to-do lists.
Strong collaboration across teams
With your task management solution’s ability to work across multiple systems, employees can work on tasks within the task tracking software itself—eliminating the need to move between multiple apps as they complete their product launch-related tasks.
This helps employees and managers to discuss specific details, ask questions, and even share assets in real-time, facilitating faster and more convenient collaboration.
Ability to add in workflow automation
Ideally, your task management solution will include built-in workflow automation, which eliminates time-consuming manual tasks from your plan.
For example, John, who is tasked with overseeing external testing, must send out a questionnaire to employees and gather their feedback to compile a report. Rather than spending valuable time sending individual follow-up reminders, he can create a workflow in the task management solution that sends automatic messages if he doesn’t receive a response within 24 hours.
In addition to your project launch board, your software should include sortable charts that provide insights about who’s doing what, whether things are running on schedule, and how your overall product launch plan is progressing. This software feature is valuable for management, planning, and identifying bottlenecks.
It’s also useful for reporting purposes. For example, if key stakeholders have questions about any tasks related to the product launch, they receive the most up-to-date status.
Plan adjustments without interrupting flow
No matter how great your product launch plan is, it will likely need to be modified as time goes on. New employees may join the team, requiring you to update assignments and accountability, or delete old tasks as the project evolves.
Task management software helps you make these changes seamlessly, without disrupting plan flow. Even when variables inevitably affect your original plan, they’ll have minimal overall impact on the result.
Task management software has the power to break down complex projects into simple, small executable tasks to help you reach your goals. As you use it to move through the life cycle of your plan, be sure to take time to celebrate milestones and key successes. Doing so is a valuable strategy for keeping up team momentum, engagement, and productivity—particularly as you race toward that coveted finish line, when you finally launch your new product.