The tools we use to make products shape how we think.
If you look at the saturated market of product development tools, the majority revolve around the planning and execution leading up to a launch. The apps cross a spectrum covering engineering workflow (e.g., GitHub), project management (e.g., Jira, Pivotal Tracker), cross-functional handoff (e.g., InVision), and big picture road mapping (e.g., Aha!, ProdPad).
In project management tools specifically, there’s great satisfaction in finishing projects. Marking things “done” provides gratification similar to removing no longer needed items from a cluttered room. With a feeling of “Mission Accomplished!”, you can now move on to the next hot priority that fits your most up-to-date thinking.
The problem is that when you launch a product update, your journey is far from complete. Greg Davis from Intercom puts it well:
As your launch day comes to a close, it’s natural to pat each other on the back and wipe your hands clean as you head home. The hard part’s over. You launched.
The reality is you aren’t done…
To extract maximum value from a launch, many opportunities come post-launch:
Our execution-focused tools, on their own, insidiously cultivate a “launch and forget” mindset. After we launch something, it should not disappear from view. Instead, launches should linger around. We should be guided by our tools to follow up, create tailored messaging for each audience, and extract maximum learning value from external feedback and reflection.
As I wrote in my last post, with strategy, the medium is the message. Adopting a tool that facilitates rigorous post-launch follow up leads teams to conceive launches that are fully thought through. Such reasoning is why Amazon created the practice of writing a launch press release before the project has even started.
Filling the post-launch tools gap is the vision for my project, Double-Loop. My mission is to provide a powerful place to keep a project after it goes live.
Double-Loop starts where the execution tools leave off. The Double-Loop Slack bot is automatically triggered when you deploy code. It prompts the team to record launch hypotheses and it reminds you to follow up on the results when time elapses after launches. Stakeholders stay in the loop through the automatically compiled launch emails.
This is just the beginning. I’m determined to demonstrate the lucrative whitespace in the post-launch phase of product development.