Launch anxiety is the phenomenon of stakeholders becoming resistant to the idea of launching or shipping their product, typically as the end of the project approaches. It's a manifestation of Resistance, as Pressfield says, "Resistance is strongest at the finish line."
I suspect that launch anxiety is finally paying the price of mistakes earlier in the project: namely not doing your research, and realizing that when it came time to validate an idea, you chose the riskiest, most expensive option.
- one more feature-itis - deciding that what you're launching won't succeed because you need "one more feature."
- Over perfection, or the refusal to ship something perfect.
- Over preparation. Preparation is useful to a point, but at a certain point it's a manifestation of fear.
- Acting out Parkinson's Law of triviality: Giving a disproportionate amount of time and energy towards trivial matters. AKA bike-shedding.
- There is an opportunity cost paid when going through launch anxiety. The more time and energy you put into a launch, the higher the cost. What it does not do is increase your chances of success, so all you have done is increased the overall risk of the project.
- Losing the interest of the stakeholder, or the audience, or your momentum. Every day you don't launch increases the risk that you may never launch, ever.
Overcoming Launch Anxiety
- Focus on who you are helping. Removing your ego is the best way to overcome launch anxiety. If you are building something that will help people, then you are hurting them by not launching the product.
- Recognize that shipping is distinct from launching. Trying to do both at once increases the chance of failure.
- get comfortable being uncomfortable. Anxiety during launching is a perfectly normal response.
- Challenge your assumptions. Thinking that your project will sink because its "not quite good enough" is often an untested assumption, a fictional manifestation of your fears.
- Launch before you're ready. People who sit around waiting to feel done get passed by people who are out there getting things gone. Get out there and just ship it.
- Remember that action produces information. You'll learn more from shipping a failure than you will continuing to work in isolation.
- Consider the other fears if you don't launch: Someone else could beat you to market, you could increase risk, you could lose momentum and never ship at all.