Launching an app is intimidating, no matter who you are or what organization you work for. But it’s even more daunting for ministry leaders. Agathon has years of experience with product launches and has developed a plan for go-live days to address the unique challenges facing ministries. Our measured approach will quell your anxieties, so together we can seamlessly stand up the app you need to spread your mission.
The High Stakes of App Go-Live Day for Ministries
Deploying software, communicating with your constituents, raising questions with your developers—there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to taking your app live. So it’s no wonder why people are apprehensive about pressing the metaphorical big red “on” button.
And besides, all you want is a modern platform to better serve your constituents. You simply can’t stomach the thought of sinking time and money into the project just for your new app to break when it goes live. That would not only be embarrassing, but it would also be a blow to your org’s limited budget.
Okay, now we’ve laid out the (sometimes scary) realities you know to be true about app launch day. Let’s dive into solutions to making it a smooth go-live process instead of an anxiety-inducing one.
3 Phases of Properly Planning for Your Digital App Launch
Launch day is, of course, the day your app goes live. But there are many details to consider before, during, and after launch, too. That’s why we’ve broken down our app launch plan for ministries into three categories: pre-launch, for launch, and post-launch.
1. Pre-Launch: Select a Go-Live Date, Determine Minimum Launch Features, and Test Your Platform
There are steps you can take to safeguard your app’s launch well before your actual go-live date—and they’re some of the most important ones.
The first step? Choose your launch date. Circle it on the calendar. Share it with your entire team.
This step may sound simple, but intentionally selecting the date your app will go live is a critical motivating factor. It gives everyone something to work toward and look forward to, and fosters accountability.
You should also determine your app’s minimum launch features before going live.
It’s tempting to plan for a splashy launch, packing your app full of awesome features from the get-go. But more features mean more potential opportunities for your app to break down. So, selecting your minimum launch features is vital to managing the risks associated with going live.
Think of your minimum launch features as the core of your app. For example, if you are creating an app for users to listen to sermons, the sermons must be viewable as soon as the app goes live. However, the app can function just fine without a note-taking feature—that can be developed post-launch.
Arriving at a list of minimum launch features is straightforward. Simply cut down your list of desired app functionality as much as you can. Once you get to a group of features that are absolutely critical to your app’s basic functioning, you’ve got your launch list. This process will involve back and forth between key stakeholders as you pinpoint your priorities.
Lastly, be sure to conduct alpha and beta tests of your app before you reveal it to the world.
Alpha testing can be simple and just among your team, while beta testing should take place with a sample group of your ministry’s constituents. In both cases, the goal is to uncover user sticking points so you can smooth out the UX prior to your official launch.
2. For Launch: Define App Deployment and Rollback Plans
This next series of steps will also happen pre-launch, but they are more directly tied to the app launch itself and can take place closer to your go-live date.
First, establish a written plan for your launch that all important parties have access to. Your plan should include deployment details like:
- How the software will get published,
- Who will press the button to publish it, and
- The roles and responsibilities of team members on launch day.
In terms of roles and responsibilities, when we partner with our clients, we always assign a project manager to oversee the entire app development process and a deployment manager who’s in charge of go-live day. We also triple-check that developers will be on call to answer any questions that arise upon launch. And, of course, we’re in close contact with you every step of the way.
It’s also vital to create a rollback plan for your ministry’s app launch day.
A rollback plan goes through exactly what to do if something unexpected happens during launch and you have no choice but to revert to your old platform. It’s a last resort; in fact, we’ve never had to use one. However, having a rollback plan in place is the responsible thing to do, just in case. The alternative is fixing issues with your newly launched app on the fly, which is messy for you and a poor user experience for app visitors.
3. Post-Launch: Conduct a Project Retrospective and Plan What’s Next
With your action and rollback plans in place, you can officially launch your ministry’s app! But going live isn’t the end of the road—far from it.
It’s important to hold a retrospective meeting no more than two weeks after your app launches. That way, you can discuss what went well and what needs improvement—before the details are hazy in everyone’s minds.
Your retrospective meeting is also a great time to list out the app features you want to tackle next. Don’t let too much time go by before diving back into optimizing your app or you risk losing momentum all together.
The last step on your app launch journey is…celebrating your achievement! You made it through the big go-live day. And if you followed the advice we’ve laid out here, it was more than likely a successful launch for your ministry. Order some pizzas and congratulate your team for a job well done.
Agathon Is Here to Help Launch Your Ministry’s App or Website
The truth is, simply knowing the steps to successfully launch an app might not be enough. If you need a partner to carry out those steps by your side, we’d welcome the opportunity to work with you to get your ministry’s app live.