Brian David Hall

Agency Optimization

Don't launch on Friday

17 January 2019

Whether it’s the new campaign, a site redesign, or a slick new piece of functionality, you should never launch on a Friday. Let’s look briefly at a couple of reasons why, and discuss what you should do instead.

Things can (and will) break

No matter how much time you put into development and planning, there’s always a risk to something will go wrong with any new campaign. Launching on a Friday compounds this risk because it’s likely no one will be watching over the weekend. So if something’s broken, it’ll be broken for three days before you catch it - instead of just a few hours.

I’ve often heard people say that they’re willing to check in over the weekend for the sake of being able to launch now. This is mildly horrifying - while maybe once a year there’s a legitimate emergency that justifies round-the-clock effort, these situations are rare. As an organization, seeking to address poor planning, slow delivery, or unreasonable timelines by deciding to work seven days a week is not a sustainable answer! Which leads to a related reason not to launch:

You’re in a hurry

Most Friday launches are the result of a previously-scheduled Tuesday or Thursday launch that didn’t happen. Pyschologically, it seems like “if we can just get it done by EOW” then … what, exactly? We don’t have to feel bad? We can pretend we made our deadline? The fact is that a missed deadline creates a sense of urgency; that’s fine, but just because you’re running late doesn’t mean you should hurry.

The guilt, anxiety, and fear that come with missing a target launch date put you at risk for some dubious reasoning. “This was supposed to be ready on Tuesday; surely it’s good to launch today.” Is it? Not necessarily - it’s ready when it’s been through your standard, robust QA procedures. “I’m sure __ has checked it by now.” Have they? Or are you looking for someone to share the blame in case something goes wrong?

What you should do instead

There are a couple of high value actions you can take on a Friday - since you’re already at work and you’re eager to get something done 😁. They’re not as exciting as a lunch, but they’re more impactful, and can actually help ensure that future lunches happen on time rather than in the same kind of a last minute hurry.

First, if you’re not going to lunch today you have plenty of time to thoroughly QA the campaign - which is probably something that you’d rush through in your hurry to get it live today. Slow down, take your time, check multiple devices, check edge cases and functionality that you haven’t tried yet to make sure that it works.

Next, do a root cause analysis on the scheduled launch of this campaign. Why didn’t it happen on Tuesday? Use 5 Whys to find an organizational or procedural change that will ensure smoother launches moving forward. Sync with your team on what happened, and what’s changing. Congratulate yourselves on your thorough launch preprarations, go home and relax … and come in Monday, refreshed, ready to press the ‘Go’ button.

Photo by Mariusz Słoński on Unsplash.