A product specification or design document is a blueprint that explains what you’re going to develop and what the outcome needs to be. Generally, it is a collaborative process between client, developers, and users. A product specification drives the collaboration, stimulates a plan forward and hashes out the design problems. A well-drafted specification is all about clarity. The more details you will add into a product spec, the more precision you provide with everyone working on the product development.
A software development includes a wide range of processes that demand an enormous amount of time and efforts. In order to do make them streamlined, the process of product design specification is originated which is also called as PDS. Sometimes, the process also involves the in-depth market research. In this post, you will find a complete guide how to write the great product specification:
Ask for Customers Feedback and Investigate a Problem Area
One of the most efficient ways to start product spec is to ask your customers what they are wondering to get. It should be done with the help of RFQ (request for quotation) issued by the customers after several discussions. Besides, the feedback comes in several forms: complaints, product suggestions, and questions. The most significant thing while evaluating all feedbacks is not to take it straight. What your potential customers are seeking for is not a mandate. When you’re evaluating a problem area, each feedback is a data point that will help you find out the root of the problem.
You need to consider following things while investigating a problem area:
- Are a lot of users or customers asking for this? How important is their desire?
- How fundamental is the problem? Is it going to make it difficult for you to build?
- What is the unrevealed issue? Is it restricting you from gaining more users?
Understand the problem and Break it into a bunch of hypotheses
When you have collected feedbacks from the users, it’s time to understand the scope of what you’re going to deal with. Now, you might be considering all problems, and that will soon start to get overwhelmed. It is always suggested to break all ideas into three categories:
- Required ones: It is like a minimum viable product. You must think about this kind of problems.
- Nice-to-haves: Non-required, but may provide immediate value. They will give more value to the product spec but aren’t essential
- Delightful: Things that may make people smile.
With this approach, you can figure out the expectations of your customers. The required ones should be your 1st priority.
Time is of the essence
Time is another important consideration that must be taken into account. Figure out the amount of time which will be utilized in the entire project, and then finalize what portion of that time will be focused on the spec document. Well, 20 to 25 hours may be enough to create a detailed sheet including 3 to 4 wireframes. The time spent on the product development should be equivalent to the budget. If the project needs to be done in 3000 hours, you are not supposed to spend 100 hours drafting the product specs.
Don’t get too excited
Instead of diving directly into the full specifications, you must spend some time to visualize the new site as a final product. Study how do you want the most relevant pages to appear, and then start designing their structures and wireframes. Besides, take some time to draft a plan of how you presume your website appearing can make the rest of the process more streamlined. Only start preparing the PDS when you have a clear image and long-term purpose for the entire project.
Pro-tips to Write a Great Product Spec
Whether you are creating a specification document on your own or hiring a product development agency, you need to follow some effective tips that will help you come up with a great product spec:
- Keep it short
- Use simple formatting and language
Try to avoid using fancy as well as core technical words. Bullet points with simple words will make your document as simpler as possible. Moreover, make the document interesting and readable while highlighting all the vital points.
- Don't underestimate the images
Flow diagrams, graphs, flowcharts, and wireframes will make your document more readable. They will help you convey a large amount of information in the easiest way.
- Think and Write
Depending on how complex the project is. You need to spend some time thinking about the points that must be added to the document. No one will prefer reading a spec which is longer than 6-7 pages.
There is no use of building a beautifully-designed product that fails to deliver the desired functionality. A well-prepared product specification document empowers designers and developers to work flawlessly while avoiding the mistakes. It provides an accurate estimation for a timeline of the project. However, all the product specifications are compatible with the concepts of the Agile Development and are significantly represented in the Scrum methodology. For more information about Product Specs and Agile Development, contact us.