Office 365 client use case: Product Launch Process

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Collect and document approvals per stage gate in a Product Launch Process (PLP), using Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Approval Workflow.

The marketing team at an international client uses Microsoft Teams and standard Microsoft SharePoint approval workflow to comply to the QA/RA regulations as described in their SOP. Launching new products and services for the EMEA region is one of the core functions of the marketing department.

Product Launch Process

The Product Launch Process is the business process that supports the bringing to the EMEA market of newly developed products. Therefore the Product Launch Process (PLP) manages new product and service launches. Because the PLP has to ensure a timely product launch, the product launch process is a controlled, flexible and supportive process. It has the following objectives:

  • Ensure that new projects are assessed against business needs / requirements and ROI before starting the project;
  • Provide a structure in which deliverables can be delivered timely;
  • Create clear objectives, goals and measures for all new product launches planned in the organisation;
  • Define roles and decision-making authority for product/service launches;
  • Establish consistent communication and approval processes.

Approval Workflow

Each phase of the PLP process comprises of a set of deliverables, followed by a stage gate review. Consequently each stage gate is evaluated and concluded with an approval round. Overall purpose of the PLP stage gate approval is to prepare for approval and collect feedback from approvers. And as a result to be able to proceed with the project’s next phase. Microsoft Teams collects approvals through a SharePoint Library Approval workflow solution in the back-end. Workflows help automate the PLP stage gate process. As a result making it both more consistent and more efficient. The workflow routes documents stored in Teams to one or more people for their approval.

Product Launch Approval Workflow makes collaboration efficient

Product Launch Approval Workflow makes collaboration efficient

Workflows are:

  • Efficient and consistent An Approval workflow automatically routes the document (link) to the approvers via email, assigns review tasks and tracks their progress, and sends reminders and notifications when needed. The activity in a workflow can be monitored and adjusted from a central status page.
  • Less work for you An Approval workflow saves you and your colleagues both time and trouble (searching, status updates), and at the same time streamlines and standardizes your approval process.

 

 

Here’s a graphical example of the PLP Approval Workflow:

Graphical summary of the PLPGraphical summary of the PLP

Graphical summary of the PLP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Approve Product Launch documents

Approvers receive a message, containing a link to the file in Teams, and a link to their task in the SharePoint Task list. They can go to their task from this email, or from the opened document. From the taks they can approve or reject, and also include some comments.

PLP Email information

PLP Email information

 

PLP Task link

PLP Task link

 

PLP Task informationPLP Task information

PLP Task information

 

Especially relevant is the link from Teams to the task list. To make it easier for approvers to find all of thier open tasks, we’ve added a tab to the Team’s channel that displays ‘My Pending Approvals’. This tab is showing a filtered view of the PLP Task list, showing only ‘my’ open tasks.

My Pending Tasks

My Pending Tasks Product Launch Process

 

Saving the full approval process for a Product Launch Process document

The Document Status Page gathers all information centrally for each PLP document.

Approval steps for PLP documnt

Approval steps for PLP document

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, after the process for approval is done, the project manager creates a pdf from the Document Status Page. This final approval report contains the final decision (approved or rejected) and in addition feedback to take into consideration for the next PLP stage. The approval report in pdf format is stored in MS Teams as well. As a last step, if all approvals are positive, the project manager will indicate how the feedback will be incorporated into the project going forward.   More examples of smarter ways to work in this Customer use case Sales meeting notes.

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