Product launch failures: 45% are delayed by at least one month — Gartner

A successful product launch can help drive profits, improve efficiencies and lead to never-before-seen insights that can drive dramatic transformations. In this vein, product managers, the creators, are the new drivers of digital transformation.

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But… what happens when a product launch is delayed?

According to a Gartner survey, only 55% of all product launches take place on schedule. And, product managers who typically launch on time are more likely to meet their internal targets within a year of launch. For the 45% of product launches that are delayed, 20%, on average, fail to meet their internal targets.

“A product launch that meets all internal targets is seldom achieved. The survey showed that only 11% of organisations reported that all of their products met 100% of defined internal launch targets,” said Adrian Lee, senior research director at Gartner. “Product managers who run late with product launches need to be keenly aware that this situation will directly increase the risk of increasing the failure rates.”

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Product launch failure; why?

A product may not launch in the scheduled time frame due to several factors, including lack of formal launch processes, delays in product development (bugs, errors and feature creep), failure to meet customer requirements, product quality or even supply problems.

Successful product managers can sometimes mitigate these issues ensuring an on-time launch. Product managers can evaluate the effectiveness of their product management strategy and organisation using strategic planning tools, which allows them to determine where improvements will add value and establish a plan to advance the organisation.

 The product manager

Product managers largely see themselves as responsible for managing the launch of and creating the strategy around products. Indeed, Gartner found that 46% of product managers said they are responsible for managing the planning, development and introduction phases of a product, while 39% of survey respondents said creating a product strategy and planning and building product roadmaps were key responsibilities.


The survey found that 78% of product managers who viewed improving collaboration internally as one of their top three roles, experienced low product failure rates.

Technology and service provider (TSP) organisations that don’t make collaboration a priority for their product managers may be jeopardising product success.

“The product manager role is one of the most cross-functional in the organisation. This is especially true at the product introduction phase when other functions such as marketing, sales, sales enablement and finance come into play,” said Stephanie Baghdassarian, senior research director at Gartner. “However, the survey showed that fewer than 20% of organisations see their product managers as driving innovation or improving collaboration within the company.”

Product managers seeking to collaborate to drive business should ensure they communicate their product vision and roadmap across all the other stakeholders in the company. This should happen early on and repeatedly in the product life cycle to allow for possible revisions based on feedback gathered from stakeholders.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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