Your Startup’s Best Chance to Deliver a Winning Product

Poor release management sabotages great products and features

Joe Procopio

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Every single person who has ever been involved with building and delivering a product has suffered the inevitable heartbreak of creating something great — maybe even better than great — and then a few weeks or months later realizing very few customers are using it, and even fewer like using it.

Sure, sometimes this kind of failure can be chalked up to a terrible idea that never should have left the digital paper it was hastily sketched out on. But other times — a lot of the time in my own experience working with startups and other product innovators — it happens not because of a bad idea, but because of a great idea executed poorly.

You can’t fix this once it happens, or it’s at least extremely difficult and usually not worth the effort. But an ounce of prevention is always worth more than a pound of cure.

If you don’t have the bare bones of a companywide release management process in place, stop everything you’re doing and create one. Don’t wait for that next brilliant idea to die on a vine of apathy.

Here’s how to get started delivering great products to grateful customers.

Release Management Is Not Just For Engineers

I hope I haven’t lost the non-engineering or non-software-development crowd just yet. When I talk about release management to the technical folks, I’m preaching to the choir, in that it’s rare that I find tech teams who haven’t put a lot of thought and machinery into documenting the build path from low-level code to high-level end user.

But have you ever read the documentation they produce? It doesn’t stray too far from the technical language they’re all used to. It certainly doesn’t speak to your customer, or your marketing, or your revenue. And so that documentation rarely, if ever, gets to the end user. It usually just winds up sitting on a Confluence page somewhere that never leaves the view of the development team.

(I can almost see you builder types nodding in agreement.)

But proper company-wide release management isn’t just about creating more…

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Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com