The Importance of Celebrating Launches and Team Milestones

Our New Website Builder — Featured on Vistaprint Homepage

Recently, my team launched the website builder that we’ve been working on for over 2 years in the US, UK, and Canada. It was an amazing accomplishment for the team, which by the end, had grown to almost everyone in our organization.

In order to pull off a successful launch, you need not only exceptional developers and quality engineers, but also very strong merchandising, marketing/PR, analytics, and email support.

Defining Launch

Before I worked in product, “launch” was a very binary concept. You went from not live to 100% live overnight. It was as if a master switch was flipped and the journey of product development was over.

Today, I know that the true reality of launching is much different. There are gradations of exposure. You may launch in one locale or across locales. You often use alpha and beta test populations and there are even “internal” launches that precede external ones.

With the definition of “launch” so nebulous, how do you decide when to celebrate? And what is the importance of celebrating anyway?

It’s easy to determine what “launch” means: Ask your team.

You’ll quickly find what is most important to them before celebrating. For my team and this project “launch” meant:

  1. 100% of new users migrated to our new accounts, subscription, and billing infrastructure
  2. 100% of new users on our new website builder in the United States

Commemorating Launch

Once you’ve determined what your team considers “launch” to be, next you need to figure out how to best commemorate that launch.

For a project as long-lived as ours, I chose to celebrate with a collective retelling of the history of the product’s development: how we came up with the original idea, how we incorporated customer feedback, how we grew the team, how we made mistakes (!), and why we made decisions a certain way.

2+ Years is a LOT of History!

This approach allowed me to acknowledge the accomplishments of those who came before me, provide an educational experience to newer employees, and offer a captivating and even light-hearted perspective on a major project.

Also, make sure to integrate your unique office culture into your event. What do people in your company get fired up about?

For us, it was craft beer and swag! Know your culture and weave it into your launch event.

Building from Launch

A successful launch event doesn’t simply recount the past, it also sets the stage for the future. While you want to make sure that the majority of your celebration is truly that, it’s also a great opportunity to highlight how your team’s achievement has set the stage for even greater future achievements.

For our celebration, we shared that the launch of our new website builder had unlocked new merchandising opportunities, next-level features, and game-changing integrations.

Keep on Launching

Launching is addictive.

Keep launching early and often, but don’t forget to pause and celebrate major milestones with your team.

Let them share what they find important and determine the best way to integrate your culture, tell stories, and keep it interesting, even for those who weren’t a part of the build.


Check out my first book, Building Digital Products at www.buildingdigitalproducts.com

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