Hitting It Out of the Park with Your MVP Launch

By J. Lawson & K. Long - Digital Experience Team on Apr. 3, 2017 View Comments

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No, that’s not your Most Valuable Player—it’s your Minimum Viable Product!  

For die-hard baseball fans, Opening Day is full of limitless possibilities. The air sings with hope and excitement. The whole season lies ahead, culminating perhaps with a trip to the Series! (Oh, and don’t forget about the hot dogs.)

That same feeling of excitement ignites in product executives the moment their digital product goes live. They are the biggest fans—and most rabid competitors—of all. But how can you bat 1,000 in such a competitive space? How can you ensure that your minimum viable product (MVP) or minimum marketable product (MMP) will last the season?

For starters, you have to get your head right. Think of your product’s progression from go-live to eventual success as a season, not a single at-bat. Your launch is just Opening Day – not the end of the season! In the digital product space, with its easy access to user feedback and endless streams of data, you need to adopt this long-term mindset. Never overlook anything that comes with the product owner role; all the strategy, analysis, recruiting, practice, preparation, bad investments, good decisions and little bit of luck that lead up to your product launch.

And just as there’s no perfect team, there’s no perfect MVP. You’d be surprised to learn just how few overnight successes there are—and how many champions have stumbled en route to that elusive pennant win.

But before we get too far, let’s analyze the data and establish your baseline, so you know how to monitor your progress and guide your product to victory.

Have you followed these 5 crucial steps prior to your actual launch?


1. Prep for Draft Day
Pick your agent. Which vendor is going to help you achieve success—and what does success mean to you? A vendor who understands the value of determining your MVP’s proper KPIs will look out for you, your team, and of course, your digital product and vision.

2. Set Your Offensive Strategy
What’s your plan of attack? Defining your team’s digital strategy will provide not only the foundation for MVP development, but also serve as a constant reminder of your plan and your MVP’s alignment.

3. Show Up for Spring Training
Test your MVP against the rest of the field. Just as spring training serves as a proving ground for a baseball team, testing your digital product (a.k.a. its “soft launch”) is key. Develop a plan and figure out if it’s working. Were your stakeholders able to determine the market and develop a product that serves a need?

4. Ensure Operational Readiness
Consider all the details from our baseball analogy: field prep, parking for 60,000 cars, ticket sales, seating and concessions stands stocked with food and beer, to name but a few. What about your team, and your organization? The Communication Plan and Launch Plan are essential for success to prepare and provide role clarification about the product launch. If your clients are asking questions, everyone should be able to provide the right answers and guide them to the right resource to handle anything that may come up.

5. Watch Closely on Opening Day
It’s the day your MVP goes live. How does it look? Does it carry out your vision? Does it align with your strategy? Are you getting the same or different results now that you’re seeing it from “in the stands”?

For now, enjoy your popcorn and cheer your team on as you bask in the excitement of your MVP launch! And as the season gets underway, begin to monitor your product’s growth and ask yourself if you’re ready to keep on slugging. What does this product’s journey look like? That’s what we’ll talk about in our next post.

This is part 1 in a 3-part series about digital product launch and management. Part 2 in our digital product launch and management series will cover “Managing the Journey of Your Digital Product’s Growth: How’s Baseball Season Going?”


About the Authors:

Max_Baseball.jpgJill Lawson, SVP & Managing Director
Jill leverages her dual degrees in Marketing and Journalism to propel a career in Digital Media. Jill and her teams have been launching digital products for many well-known media clients over the past 6 years. With 4 professional athletes in the family and one 9-year old (pictured left as a baby) who thinks it’s imminent…everything turns into a baseball analogy or motivation to eat your greens. 

Kathleen Long, Delivery Manager Extraordinaire
With a family of Baltimore natives, Kathleen has maintained her stance as an Orioles fan since the days of Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken. Dedication and stamina are at the heart of great baseball teams; and great digital teams, too. Kathleen manages digital products and support teams on a daily basis, ensuring strong delivery and as many homeruns as possible.

Posted in: digital strategy, Project & Program Management