Launch When It’s Better

I'm in the middle of working on a redesign of this site and relaunching my business, Craft+Story, so I pulled out one of my old rough drafts that I never finished. This is especially fitting right now, because it's about launching your redesign with a small (or no) team:

In agile development teams and online businesses, a lot of us talk about launching early and iterating in the web world these days. That makes sense for those of us who are launching web apps and online services with a development mindset and some experience launching on the web. What about non-technical ministries and small businesses that are working on launching major updates or redesign? How do you, as a non-development leader, know when you should go ahead and launch something that may not feel "there," yet? Simple. You launch when it’s better than what you have.

Is the new thing perfect? No. It won’t be. Should you launch when it’s 90% there? Should you even waste time trying to calculate how “complete” it is? Probably not. We (leaders of development) might have a lot of cool Gantt charts and complicated ideas to tell us exactly how far along a project is supposed to be, what percentage is complete, and what the estimated completion date is (based on more guessing than we will admit), but that's probably not your real job. Frankly, that’s a ridiculous onus to put on the non-developers out there, so just follow the simple rule: Launch when the new thing is better than what is currently up there.

I have the fancy charts and timelines at my disposal, and I still use that as my real test, for better or worse. When I’m doing updates on my sites, I launch as soon as it’s better. Is the new banner perfect? No, but the fact is it’s better than the old one (which might be outdated for any number of reasons). As soon as it’s better, I launch. Period.

I say this especially applies to leaders in small businesses and ministries with little to no internal teams because it really does. I know how busy you can be wearing five different hats on any given day, and percentage complete doesn't mean anything in the real world to your users. If you wait for everything to be perfect, you will run out of time or money eventually. Once you have something better, just launch. If there's more work to be done, keep somebody like me around on retainer for a while to keep making improvements. I'll even update the Gantt charts.