Product Launch Email Template

Our advisor, JR, at Motorola always stressed:

“There is no such thing as too much communication.”

Easy enough to grok — if everyone is on the same page then the collective efforts are synchronized, leading to faster execution.

When lots of people are heads down working on their own projects (and rightfully in their own world) it’s quite easy to miss whats going out the door. While working at Google over the past four years I can’t even estimate the number of launches (of all sizes internal or external) that have shipped. 10,000 maybe? Probably more.

I’d find myself learning about new features from friends or stumbling across it in a product (that I use heavily) and thinking to myself “whoa, that’s cool how did I miss that?”

In larger organizations it’s hard to get a scope of just how well the company is executing because there are so many areas that are improving. And providing attribution and awareness of these improvements is important for both morale and cohesiveness in the effectiveness of our work.

At my first startup it was pretty easy to see when launches were going out the door: My engineering manager, Chandru, would smoke five cigarettes beforehand and Dan, who got stuck with deployment, would ask me to start hitting our website to see if anything was “wrong.” (BTW these are both brilliant engineers and this was more of a function of moving quickly than some sort of shade toward sane deployment operations).

More importantly, what exactly did we launch in human speak? Why was it important and how is it progressing the company further?

My product VP at Motorola, Punit Soni, was adamant that product releases should always contain user impacting components so people could easily digest that our product was getting better for them. This meant under-the-hood changes were bundled (unless in severe scenarios in which the fix itself was evident) rather than released on their own and listed as “bug fixes” in the app updates section.

Externally we use release notes, the app store, app modals, emails, and a bunch of other communication tools to tell the people that use our products how it’s getting better for them.

Q: But, how do we express the same information of improvement and direction to the many employees working inside the company?
A:Tell your employees What. Who. Why. And then make it easy for them to share that internally and externally. And do it often, methodically.

An email sent to a visible-changes@yourcompany.com, in which many of your employees are subscribed will suffice. But in the era of “kill email” it’s possible you might setup a Slack channel, Yammer Group, or Snap Story (I don’t really care so long as you do it).

The key is to communicate broadly the following:

  • What just happened?
  • Why was it important?
  • Who can we celebrate for making it happen?
  • Where can I try this right now. And if not, why?
  • How can I share this (provide URLs, prewritten copy / tweets, screen caps / gifs)

When employees are highly focused on their area of expertise or projects they may lose grasp of the many initiatives (often parallelized) pushing the company forward. That’s why I believe the greatest company leaders spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about how to communicate to their employees effectively (especially opposed to external communications).

At Google I’ve seen the use of “launch emails” to effectively clue in the company and teams on what’s going on in the wider organization and celebrate individuals & teams responsible for forward progress. These launch emails are a fantastic way to give a snippet about a project that has launched, what the project was for, who was part of the team, and how it’s contributing to the company’s larger objectives.

In smaller companies it may seem like these types of memos are redundant — as consumer facing launches may be well publicized, or such an event is obvious. However there are tons of teams in companies today that support large (or small) consumer facing launches that lurch in the shadows.

By celebrating launches internal and external you can setup a culture of people that appreciate all the efforts in advancing the goals of the company. It also is a great way to shower praise, and knowledge of the team and its members involved in projects everyone else in the company.

I firmly believe this practice holds value for small companies and big. It’s not about getting wide recognition so much as it is about setting a positive feedback loop for launching and value generation. The non-trivial side benefits include informed team members, an understanding of roles and responsibilities, and unplanned collaborations.

Your launches and work are hard fought. Celebrate your wins.

Template:

bitly.com/launch-template

I’d love your feedback on the template or my thoughts (especially questions I’ve missed that I should ask). Please leave a note or shoot me 140 @niket.

I hope you found this useful and good luck.


Thanks to the many people who helped shape or put up with my ideas as they materialized.

This post is part of a series of posts made towards a commitment to open source a set of tools I’ve been developing over the past few years.