The perfect product release. The one where everything falls into place right on time, the team is hyped and driven (as opposed to relieved and exhausted), and even the marketing materials are ready when they should be.
How does that happen?
Set goals that are borderline unrealistic
The secret to that serendipitous moment is in the weeks that precede it.
You start by aiming really high – setting sprint goals that are hard to meet, but even if you don’t – the team will have met a few other integral goals, so whichever features are released will be proud-worthy and satisfying. Mind you, don’t aim too high, or else the team will be disappointed and discouraged by the gap between expectations and reality.
Plan like a time-machine
Then, when planning the version, start at the release date and work your way backwards. That way, you’ll be able to calculate fairly closely how long each sprint should take and how much effort the team can afford to invest in each task.
Marketing is part of the version
Finally – integrate the marketing efforts into the sprints. As tempting as it may be to send your marketing team an email headlined “Are the materials for tomorrow’s release ready?” – things will go much more smoothly if everyone relevant is informed in advance. That way, they have time to prepare messaging, screenshots and visual materials and space out the announcements evenly. After all, the new features are only worth as much as they are published and promoted to the right audience.