Learnings from my First product launch….an internal tool called AM Dashboard

Vikram Goyal
3 min readAug 1, 2023
Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

My first product launch happened in August 2019.

The product was an internal tool for Account Managers to identify the health score of a customer. It also gave recommendations on ways to improve the health score of customers. The tool was called the “AM Dashboard”. (AM being shorthand for Account Manager).

Expectation with the tool was that account managers would log into it daily and take actions to boost the health score of customers assigned to them.

After the launch, I was hoping that the account managers would come running to me and remark how their lives changed after the launch of AM Dashboard.

Sadly, none of the account managers came to me. But one person did.

My boss.

It had been ten days since the launch of the AM dashboard. My boss came and asked me to give an update on the usage of the dashboard.

I confidently replied that all the AMs were using it. (They had told me this when I met them a few days back).

Not the one to be easily pleased, my boss persisted, “But, did you check the usage data.”

Sheepishly, I said no.

Nobody had told me to ship analytics along with the product. And I had conveniently forgotten to ship analytics.

With barely concealed anger, by boss said, “Users log into the dashboard via Google sign-in. You should be able to extract when they last logged in.”

I went back and dug into the relevant data.

Lo and behold!

I found that only 2 out of the 30 account managers had logged into the dashboard in the last seven days. (The account managers who had expressed happiness at the launch of the tool had not even bothered to open it later on.)

With a lot of trepidation, I shared the data with my boss.

Needless to say, I got a resounding scolding for exhibiting lack of ownership.

The next few weeks — I spent talking to the account managers to understand what had gone wrong.

Key Lessons Learnt from the “AM Dashboard” fiasco

Based on my conversations with the account managers, I was able to uncover the following issues with the product — lack of understanding of the features of the tool, important details missing from the dashboard and inability of the tool to seamlessly fit into the Account Manager’s workflow.

Here are the major learnings I had from this experience:

  • When shipping your first product, seek help from a senior PM — This will help you avoid making stupid mistakes.
  • If you can’t measure it, don’t consider it shipped — Shipping analytics is as important as shipping code for your product.
  • Don’t believe what people say — Believe what people do.
  • Launch day is the first time your product goes into the hands of customers — A Product manager’s job does not end when a product is launched. It is the beginning of the most important phase of a product’s journey — customer adoption phase. Dig deep into who the early adopters are, talk to them to understand what they like/dislike about your product and ruthlessly prioritize the critical fixes for improving the customer adoption rate.
  • No customer feedback on a product is a big RED flag — Being inundated by customer feedback around improvements and feature suggestions should be every Product Manager’s dream. It shows that your product is solving a problem for people and they want it to get better. On the flip side, if you are not getting user feedback, it means your product has a serious customer adoption problem.

Besides, I got some useful lessons on the mistakes to avoid while building internal tools. These have been documented here.

Launching a product or feature is an exciting time. It is the culmination of a long period of hard work.

But don’t forget your product after launching it. The most important phase of the journey has just begun…

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Vikram Goyal

Currently PM@Airmeet — building a kick-ass product for conducting remote events and conferences.