Career , Strategy  |  December 14, 2016

Lessons From My First Product Launch at Webonise

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by Rudra Patil
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Before joining Webonise I received my degree in Information Science and dabbled in coding, but quickly realized my strengths were more in management than coding itself. In July of 2011, I joined Webonise as a Business Analyst (BA). Although it was a new role to me at the time, I was confident I would be able to take it on and be successful at it-- after all, it would mostly be about managing people and having a basic understanding of the consumer-internet space, I thought.

...after all, it would mostly be about managing people and having a basic understanding of the consumer-internet space, I thought.

I was completely wrong. A Business Analyst role at Webonise, having a major part in a product launch, is much more than that. The product development cycle and the product launch itself includes much planning, collaboration across teams, and productive members of the whole product team (ranging from the BA, Project Managers, Developers, Designers, etc.) in order to deliver a satisfactory product for the client.

My first product launch was a rollercoaster of a ride. When I was told I’d get to start working on a live project, I was ecstatic! Thus, the fun and my learning curve began.

After analyzing the project itself, understanding the client's goals and the purpose of the product, we planned the different steps of the development process that needed to be followed in order to stay within scope, budget, and timeline, the development started with the first sprint. This consisted of basic user login feature and a contact form. With the latter feature’s implementation, we encountered repetitive development issues, but through open communication, we were able to overcome these initial hiccups, and continue the course of the product development. After rigorous testing, and a high level of attention from the Product Owner to ensure the product was coming along as it should, the first sprint was a success and the first features of the product met our quality of standards and were demoed to the client.

The first sprint went well but going into the coming sprints I made a mistake that was solely at this point my responsibility. As a BA, part of my responsibilities are to ask questions and do research when a client request is made. In this instance, I did not follow up with the client on requirements which contributed to rework as development for the feature had already been started. This could’ve been avoided by continuously discussing requirements with the client and the Project/Product Manager. My mistake caused both a delay in the launch timeline as well as an increased financial cost to the product itself.

Although when I had first encountered the above mentioned issue, months later I understood other causes of the issue I’d encountered. A major thing I learned in this first product development cycle and launch is that constant involvement in the assignment is imperative. While no one person can keep track of each and every aspect of product development, following processes to ensure that individuals are assigned and on top of every aspect of the product development, along with effective communication amongst team members, reduces the opportunity for things to go wrong. Another lesson learned is that when an issue does arise, or if you notice something that does not feel right, speaking up and communicating with your team about it is the best thing you can do. And the only way to be able to notice issues or if something is not on track, is if you fully understand the scope of the product and its requirements.

Lessons learned

  • Understand scope of the product being developed
  • Be alert throughout the whole development cycle to notice if and when things are not moving as planned
  • Communicate with team members every step of the way

Another important aspect to note during my first product launch was discovering that although we work effectively as a team, every team member must take responsibility for his/her own part. Until and unless you make the product part of your life you cannot achieve this goal. As a BA, Product Manager, Project Manager, etc., you should be confident in stating that "being the owner of this project, I know it better than anybody else involved in it".

I like to encourage myself and my fellow team members to always keep in mind the product launch, and see the end goal-- instead of only seeing things as they come on a day to day basis. In my opinion, I feel this keeps up the team morale and is helpful in everyone having the same vision for the product at the time of launch.

All in all, my first product launch was indeed a really awesome rollercoaster ride, but a successful one at that. Remember to always be positive, believe in yourself and enjoy what you do. :)

I would like to end with this quote that I hope inspires you as it has me:

"When you invoke the agent of change called acceptance, you must accept all that you are, all that you've been and all that you will be in the future."

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Rudra Patil is a Product Manager at Webonise. This is Rudra drinking an iced tea at a Yankees game.

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