In 2017, we were to launch a big project in July. I missed the deadline, we had to push the launch by 2 months.
In 2018, another major launch, we missed the deadline again by almost a month and half.
In 2019 April, we started a project, set the launch date on 15th August. Huge project in totally different territory (Brazil). Launched it on the promised date.
We decided to launch MyGlamm V2 on March 9th, 2020. Launched it on March 9th, before everyone wakes up. If I recollect it correctly, it was 5AM in the morning.
If you look at chain of events, we have managed to launch things on time from missing the deadlines.
How did this happen, what’s the art behind it? Frankly speaking, it’s not a rocket science.
First and foremost, know the project from inside out. Leave less room from ambiguity. Most of the times, the main reason for delay is lack of clarity, not lack of skills. Engineers often end up giving estimates based on what’s in their mind not what is the exact requirement. So you must always communicate requirements very clearly and also understand what the chain below you have understood.
Second, break everything into smaller milestones. Many times, we keep large milestones, find out the problems late which in turn delays the project. Smaller milestones will help you to catch the problems quicker.
Third, set the realistic deadline and start thinking in reverse way to reach the goal. For example, to launch something on x date, what will you need? Break those things in small chunks and go after those.
Fourth, Keep calm and … This is actually for you. As a manager, you really need to keep calm, avoid noise around everything and THINK. In 2019 August launch, we achieved something which the other team could not do it in 4 years. It was a huge task but we pulled it off.
In March 2020 again, it was a really really huge task, moving an already running tech architecture in smaller services without downtime and that too have to take care of real time migration of users, orders and what not.
On these both huge launches, I did not care about the noise i.e. how big the project is, what if we fail etc.. all these things, according to me are immaterial. My thought process is: I have spare parts of the engine with me, I just have to fit them properly to build a well oiled machine. Rest is noise for me.
Manager’s job is to ensure the head is clear and calm so when team members need the support, we help them to solve their problem not create more problems.
Another important thing is, if you want to succeed as a team, have full faith your team, make deadline very very transparent. I generally do not keep 2 dates, for me it’s one date, which is final. For our V2 launch, I was extremely clear that 9th March is the date, not 10th or 11th. Everyone has to work as a team to achieve that. Problems? Yes, there will be plenty of them, we will resolve as a team. Keep the team motivated and engaged all the time.
Lastly, start preparing the list of launch day activity, get the team leads, project / product managers involved. Note down every small thing which is required or to be checked. This will be extremely critical in case you are moving already running system to a new one.
I know, at this point, you must be thinking “I know all these things”. Yes, we all know these things but we never think about these simple points.
BTW here is photo from our V2 launch day