How do you celebrate new features and launches with your team?

  • 8 September 2021
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When you launch a new feature, do you take any time to celebrate with your team? Most launches it feels like we put the feature out and go right back to working on the next one, without even taking a moment to really celebrate the hard work that went into it.

I’m wondering if anyone else also struggles with this, and if anyone has a neat way of celebrating internally! Doesn’t have to be big or over-the-top. Just something to recognize the accomplishment and give some sense of closure to the development cycle… so tough to find in an Agile world.


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@samgioia I’ll share some of the ways in which I’ve done this in the past (since others didn’t share any suggestions). I’ve found a ton of success with some of the following:

  • simple handwritten notes or cards -- something personalized thanking people for the work they did and celebrating their contributions
  • shout them out at the next all-hands -- express your thanks as a team member or product leader for their efforts.
  • at the next standup with the team, and before jumping into the next set of revisions or moving onto the next thing, being intentional about celebrating. Having each team member share something about others on the team, their contributions, and what they like about what went out the door as a feature.
  • sharing success factors and metrics -- sharing some of the early learnings -- what uptake, adoption, etc. has happened. Many engineers particularly don’t get to hear this stuff, so even updates ongoing for a bit can be huge
  • I’ve also done things like encouraging the team to head out for a lunch, giving them a gift card or even awarding a fun 🏆 or prizes to be great opportunities to give the team something to trumpet and laugh about in their next get-together. Letting them pick what’s best also usually leads to things that are more fun and truly reflective of the character the team.

Hope that helps!

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Great question @samgioia,

We try to celebrate releases on a weekly basis in our internal weekly newsletter (I wrote about it here). I believe, it’s important to highlight also small things even if it’s just a shoutout to whole company through that newsletter.

We also have a monthly all hands on meeting, where we give an update on how we’re doing as a company division - it’s a great place to recognize people there. We actually did it last month, where we recognized people for reorganizing their development cycles to deliver more value for customers before December. Everyone from the company could see who went the extra mile.


For one of our major releases in the past we have organized a virtual “pub quiz” for the whole division - anyone could participate, not just the developers. We kicked off the session with recap of the project and impact it had on our customers. We even managed to get some testimonials from them! Then we spent an hour in different teams playing the quiz and everyone received a special goodies afterwards (we shipped them to people in remote offices). It was definitely fun. 


Finally, if you hear from your customers that they love the new functionality or they sent you and email - just simply pass it to your teams. This is the most simple and yet most effective way how to share the success with them. And everyone loves to hear that they did a good job.

Martin

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Thanks for the excellent suggestions @scott.baldwin and @martinmichalik! I especially love that pub quiz idea since our team has enjoyed trivia happy hours in the past.

For our most recent release, we played some fun music in the office when we went live with the feature and had a round of applause. It was a great way to lift the atmosphere. Probably the most impactful though was our marketing team gathering up all the excitement on social media from our users and pasting screenshots into a Notion doc. That was really a missing link - our designers and developers were never seeing that praise in real time.

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Wow that sounds awesome -- especially the team sharing all the social feedback and praise in real-time. You’re doing some great stuff @samgioia we should get you sharing your ideas as a speaker or on a panel at one of our upcoming events. DM me if you’re interested.

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As a Director of Product, team motivation is key. So many days, hours, months go into the entire cycle that launches are  to be recognized and celebrated.

Our processes include:

1. Quarterly Tech Talks - where we demo and discuss our latest tech releases, always including a team slide with names and pictures of the team including PM, BA, Development, QA

2. Innovation Lab- we use this forum to put together a roundtable for the enterprise leading up to and post launch, led by the PM they share their product. In addition, an email is sent to the entire organization announcing the release. We also use Yammer to post on our tech page.

3. Post Release we do a team lunch, team dinner, team happy hour where we recognized everyone's contributions.

4. Our CTO is provided a list of launches, names and teams and he too recognizes them quarterly in his techtalk.

5. Leading up to launch, we empower and motivate by ensuring the team has project t-shirts, stickers, etc. Where they feel proud to belong to an IT initiative.

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