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Product Launch Team Member's Guide - Pragmatic Institute - new product launch letter

Product Launch Team

Member’s Guide



Purpose of a Product Launch Team 1

The Role of a Product Launch Team 1

Common Misconceptions 1

Roles and Responsibilities of Team Members 2

Rules for Product Launch Teams 2


This document is for new members of a Product Launch Team. It introduces the purpose of the team, the roles and responsibilities of team members, and team rules. Review this document before the Product Launch kickoff meeting.

Purpose of a Product Launch Team

A Product Launch Team is a cross-functional team designed to represent all areas in the organization that impact or will be impacted by a product launch. Not only should the product be ready for the market, the entire organization must also be ready. By bringing together a broad range of functional, domain, and operational expertise, a cross-functional Product Launch Team can be a very powerful force in helping support a successful product launch.

No single person in the organization can possesses all the experience, knowledge, and perspective that an effective cross-functional team can.

Unfortunately, cross-functional teams often get a bad reputation and are perceived as extra work. This is due to management’s insistence of implementing the cross-functional concept (for all the right reasons), but neglecting to provide proper training and management support to allow the team to be successful.

The Role of a Product Launch Team

The purpose of a Product Launch Team is to improve the quality and speed by which a complex product launch is completed, by utilizing the available expertise within an organization. The Product Launch Team ensures organizational readiness across the company, not just within the product group.

Common Misconceptions

A cross-functional team is only as good as the participation and commitment of its members and its leader. Often the expectations of a cross-functional team are very high, especially in the beginning. They are introduced into an organization as a way to cure many problems, some of which the team will have no impact on at all.

This Guide will provide you with an understanding of your role as a Product Launch Team member. A good team can make dramatic improvements in completeness, quality, and time-to-market. But ultimately it is the people on the team who will make those improvements, not the cross-functional framework itself.

Roles and Responsibilities of Team Members

The members of your team will come from a range of functional areas in your organization including product management, development, customer support, sales, accounting, legal, consulting, professional services, marketing, and other areas as needed to support your product launch. What makes launch teams so challenging is that those individuals have an obligation to the team in a matrix management environment, yet don’t report directly to the Product Launch Team leader.

In some cases the team members may have more senior roles within the organization than the team leader.

Team members must understand their importance to the Product Launch Team and how their knowledge and skill adds to the success of the project.

Rules for Product Launch Teams

|Team Members |One representative from each applicable functional area will be chosen. |
| |Representatives should be capable of making decisions on behalf of their functional areas. |
| |No observers. Everyone must participate. |
|Status Meetings |Status meeting will be held at a consistent time and day-of-the-week. |
| |Status meetings are not problem-solving meetings. |
| |Members are categorized into Required and Optional for each meeting. |
| |Status meetings should be no longer than one hour. |
| |Meetings always start on time. |
| |Meetings always have an agenda. |
|Assignments |Team members are expected to complete assignments within the timeframe agreed upon. |