Product specification in product management is a crucial process that can vary from company to company. The specific content and structure of product specifications are directly related to the unique function of the product development team of an organization and the nature of the products that are proposed and developed.
The common thread? All product specifications use a fixed set of principles deemed universal in crafting highly useful spec sheets. Knowing what to include, what to exclude, and where to focus efforts is of utmost importance. Without this clarity, putting together a concise and detailed product spec will be difficult.
Are you wondering, “What is product specification?”
Before we dive into some tips and tricks to nail perfect product specs, let us give you an overview of product specifications.
Product Specification: What is It?
Product specification, aka a product spec, is a document that outlines the essential information for creating new products or new features of existing products. This document serves as a blueprint for the products being developed and provides important details related to the product for the product team during the development process. It covers information like the target users, a summary of the core concept, and company objectives.
Product specs eliminate the need for repetitious, verbal communication and streamline the product development process by offering a single point of clear and transparent communication to enhance team efficiency.
What Should a Product Specification contain?
Although the content of a product specification document varies by company and product under development, a typical product spec document should provide an overview of the product, briefly explaining the concept and clarifying the overall scope and intent of the project. It should also cover the product development cycle and the product’s expected appearance, features and functionalities, and development timelines.
The product spec should highlight how the product would benefit the company and what kind of revenue it would generate. It should have user personas that offer insight into the end users’ behavior and needs, and a visual representation of the expected product’s look and feel, serving as a helpful tool for the team’s developmental efforts.
5 Steps to Write Effective Product Specifications
Get Customer Feedback
Taking feedback from customers can help you formulate good user stories. By considering customer feedback, you can modify the existing products or tailor a new product to the customers’ needs.
Involve Everyone in the Discussion
While customer feedback can be beneficial, you must also utilize insights from the various stakeholders in the business. Involving more people in the product development process would help you make smarter decisions based on different points of view. This also encourages company-wide collaboration.
Define Essential Product Specifications
Dimensions of the product, safety protocols, technical details, and environmental considerations are some of the critical specifications that must be outlined in the product spec sheet. Make sure to include these things to get a holistic idea of the expected product.
Do User Tests
Create the product’s prototype for testing to see if it fulfills the intended purpose, and find users who will be willing to help you test the prototype and share their feedback. Take notes of their experience with the product and discuss with the teams what is working well and what needs improvement.
Make Modifications Based on the Results
Based on the user feedback, update the product specification with the required modifications. Once the product specification has been finalized, send it to the product development team so that they can work on developing the product.
Product specifications are concise documents that clearly communicate what product is being built and what its expected capabilities are. Product specs must always address business-related questions, such as what is the projected revenue, who is the target audience, and which markets can the finished products be launched to.
To comprehensively answer the above questions, product specs must include user personas based on the target audience research and other technical information, along with anticipated roadblocks, to plan smooth product development.