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Launchpad Enhancement Proposal Process

Where's the beef? Go to the List of drafting, approved and archived LEPs! Go to the template.


A way of proposing an enhancement to Launchpad, so that we're ReadyToCode as quickly as possible.

Do I need to follow this?

You must follow this if:

You probably don't need to follow this if:

The first list overrides the second list. When in doubt, ask the Product Strategist.


Launchpad regularly develops new features. We'd like to make sure that these features are implemented well, and that they are what our users actually need.

This process is successful if it helps us make exactly what users want, with no wasted extra features and no crappy pain points in the new interfaces.

In particular, we want to have feature definitions that:


This process is triggered when you want to do a new feature, or when beginning work on a feature squad.


The Product Strategist triggers this process and approves any output from it.

The Analyst is the author of any of the outputs. The Analyst can be any Launchpad developer or community member. The Strategist should be available to take the role of doing the actual writing, particularly if the Analyst finds it a burden. The thinking must come from the Analyst.


The input should include as many user stories as possible with a form like:

There must also be a list of Stakeholders — people who are actually interested in the feature.

The input should also include a written reason as to why we are working on this feature right now, instead of other features that we could be doing.

Any existing user research data should be considered as input.


Collect the inputs

Make sure you have:

Create the wiki page

  1. Make a page on, give it a short, punchy name

  2. Consider using the LaunchpadEnhancementProposalTemplate

  3. List the Stakeholders at the top
  4. Add the story
  5. Add the wiki page to the "Drafting" section of LEP

Talk to someone

Talk to someone, anyone. Talk over the phone and make notes with something like Gobby, or just on the wiki page directly.

Good people to talk to include Stakeholders and the Product Strategist.

Talk to the product strategist

Just in case you missed it, you should really talk to the Product Strategist.

Start adding constraints

A constraint is some condition that the solution must satisfy. The constraints listed here should be:

But actually, the more the merrier. Get them down first, get them right later.

It's important to work with Stakeholders at this stage. Remember to ask “why” a million times over so that we get the right constraint down.

These constraints should not specify a solution.

Often, it's very helpful to describe what things are not included as part of the feature.

Jot down sub-features

Thinking about the problem will probably lead you to discover sub-features, smaller things that can be delivered independently and will add value while building up to reach the bigger story.

These sub-features can have their own feature document / blueprint thing, or they can go down in this document.

Either way, each sub-feature should go through a process very similar the one of the overall feature.

Delete any unused sections

It makes the document easier to read.

Get it reviewed

Move the link to the proposal on LEP from "Drafting" to "Needs approval".

Review the output with the Product Strategist, who will move it on to "Ready to code" or bounce it back to "Drafting".

This process is complete when we feel we have enough information to start designing a UI. Remember the process is iterative. It's expected that the actual constraints will be better understood as we start to design & implement.

Success criteria

Answer the following questions:


A wiki page and a link on LEP.

If not already, the LEP should be raised for discussion on the development mailing list.

Consider blogging or tweeting about it.

If the LEP is really, actually to be done, then make sure that it is linked from the RoadMap.

When doing user testing of this feature, use the LEP as a reference.


What is a requirement?

Supporting Documentation

LaunchpadEnhancementProposalProcess (last edited 2011-07-28 22:46:44 by mbp)