How to reduce delays to product launches

If your development team missed a launch timeline target last year, they’re not the only ones: Gartner found that only 55% of product launches take place on schedule.

What’s the problem? Common reasons for delays include a lack of formal launch processes, delays in product development (with bugs, errors, and feature creep), a failure to meet customer requirements, and issues with product quality or supply chain management.

So don’t blame your development team for missing the mark—it’s counterproductive, and chances are, it was outside of their hands. To assess the situation accurately, take these steps:

Audit your own role in the project

How well did you set up your team for success? Did your engineers have clarity around what all the project goals and priorities were? Were they protected from distractions, such as inquiries from their teammates? Evaluate what you could do better next time to set up a supportive environment that provides your team with the structure they need.

Follow the yellow flags

Examine historical data in your project management system and your chat tools to understand where your team members were getting roadblocked, struggling to communicate effectively, or creating redundancies. If bugs came up, were they quickly identified and were other team members able to step in to help, or were engineers left waiting days or weeks to resolve problems?

Unsilo your company knowledge

While some issues may be unavoidable, others could be solved by faster access to needed information. In order to prevent such issues from causing project delays, look for ways to make sure that technical information is well documented and shared throughout the entire organization. Using a knowledge-sharing platform that enables team members to ask and answer questions and search for information by tag or keyword will provide them with a transparent and seamless method of quickly getting necessary contextual information to help them troubleshoot problems. Unlike a wiki, which may be rarely updated, team members can add their own insights to each question and vote up the most helpful content to ensure that your development team is always relying on the most accurate information.

While global events and circumstances outside of your immediate control can cause delays in production, don’t let your own team’s communication process serve as a roadblock. By taking steps to implement a transparent system of sharing knowledge throughout the enterprise, your team will be able to develop and deploy their products more efficiently in the future.

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