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Prepare to Launch

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe the importance of Launch Gate.
  • Identify your Launch Gate responsibilities.

Open the Gate

Launch Gate is the final SRA review. It explores storefront performance, security, and delivery. The objective, at the end of the review, is to open a figurative gate. An open gate indicates that the site is ready to launch. To prepare for Launch Gate, make sure all storefront features are ready for merchant use, complete load testing, and complete or be close to completing user acceptance testing (UAT). 

During Launch Gate, the functional architect double-checks site content, settings, and critical functionality. Are the catalogs, content, and promotions production-ready and usable? Are visitors able to create an account and complete an order? Have all the test merchandising configurations been replaced with the live site configurations? 

Meanwhile, the technical architect focuses on the delivered website. Is the code clean? Does the site perform well? Does the site keep sensitive data secure? We look at these items and more during Launch Gate.

Technical Operations Readiness tasks are the last set of Launch Gate review items. The SRA workbook dedicates a page to these critical, required tasks: purge test data, configure data retention settings, identify support contacts, and so on. We assign these tech ops tasks to the merchant, but we rely on you to drive the merchant to complete them. 

Typically, there are a maximum of two Launch Gate reviews. We hold the initial review 2–3 weeks before the planned go-live date. If we discover serious issues during the initial review, the SRA owner schedules a second review. If that happens, there’s no need to panic. It’s part of the SRA process. During the second review, we only check the items that didn’t pass the first review. 

Share Environments and Documents

As with the LRBC, the SRA team needs environment access. Prepare the staging and production environments in advance, then grant the team full administrative permissions to both environments.

Throughout Launch Gate, continue to provide access to the documentation identified in the specification review.

A stack of documents

This includes the functional specification document (FSD), the technical specification document (TSD), project plan, load-test results, data models, and data-mapping documents. Work with the SRA team to determine who needs access to which resources during the Launch Gate review.

Follow Up on Feedback

Throughout the reviews, consider our team of technical and functional architects a trusted source that provides some external feedback. Field and follow up on our feedback. Address requests to take specific action, such as updating code. Then, tell us what you did. Record your replies in the partner column of the SRA workbook. If you plan to change anything after launch, provide a target date for when you expect to complete the changes. The SRA team notes your replies, reviews available changes, and makes plans to recheck any post-launch changes.

Pay attention to the severity of each review item as listed in the SRA workbook. The highest severity rating for a review item is launch blocker. As the name says, launch blockers can prevent a successful launch. They have the greatest effect on your and the merchant's ability to successfully launch, manage, or maintain the storefront. What does a launch blocker look like? Here are a few examples.

  • SSL certificates are missing
  • Caching is disabled
  • Load test failed

Coming in a close second in severity are the critical items. These items have a major impact on your and the merchant's ability to successfully build, launch, manage, or maintain the storefront. Here are a few examples.

  • Support contacts aren’t designated
  • Category filters aren’t configured
  • SEO isn’t configured

Remove Obstacles

Promptly address all launch blockers and critical items with a status of No. If these pile up, your launch gate will never open. Make it your mission to have the status of all launch blocker and critical items set to Yes. Stop and fix all items assigned to you while continuing to work on any other noncritical items.

During Launch gate, if the SRA team finds any launch blockers, the storefront automatically fails the SRA. Though the final decision to launch is up to the merchant, the SRA owner’s recommendation is to delay launch. For a stress-free launch, resolve all launch-blocker items before go live. Then celebrate the open gate. You’re ready!

A Salesforcelandian walking through an open gate.

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