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Foretheta

A Guide on Writing a Great Product Specification

aarzoonaeem profile image Aarzoo Naeem Originally published at foretheta.com Updated on ・3 min read

Writing a great product specification document plays an essential role in the software production process.

What is a Product Specification?

A product team requires a product specification to build a product. It includes a description of the goals, objectives, and any other relevant information. This is an essential part of the product building and design process. The product specifications inform the 'why' and 'who' of the product.

Why is a product specification important?

Most people do not start with a written specification. They only have an idea for what they want to build. They do not spend time thinking through the specifications. Relying on ideas alone will result in a poor product, confusion, and miscommunication. Software product development is a collaborative process, with several stakeholders. A product designer can build a more accurate product with precise specifications.
The two main questions answered by a good product spec list are

Why are we building this product?

For whom are we making it?

Precision is the key to the design, development, and architecture of products. This involves:

  1. Conceptualizing the product,

  2. Structuring the product's hardware/software components; and

  3. Ensuring accuracy.

Writing a Product Specification

Team-meeting: Team-work & Communication is the Key

Keep it Simple:

Use simple and straightforward language. Be precise in the overview; explain what needs to be, and leave out unnecessary details.

Communicate the objectives:

Clarity of thought is integral to writing a product spec. Please make a list of expectations and objectives before you communicate it to others. Help the dev team understand your goals towards building the product. Eventually, it will show in the design and development process.

Provide Context:

It's important to give background, or the 'Why' of building the product comes in. Give the background and context of developing the product to inspire the dev team.

Give realistic goals:

When writing objectives and milestones, give the dev team realistic timelines. It will not only help in less waste of time but also raise the accountability of the team's working on the product. They know that the time given was enough, and they need to step up and perform.

What Does a Product Spec Include?

Product specification should be clear and detailed

Product Description:

Give complete information about the product. It should include the minor details as well as the essential technicalities.

Product Designs:

Provide designs of the interface outlay and features of the product.

User Personas:

This is where the 'Who' of your product spec comes in. Identify the users and their personas to the development team. This helps the product manager to include features that will bring value.

Functionality:

This includes how the product will look and interact with the user. It should be clear, precise, and easy to understand. The product manager should be able to understand the specific functions before starting work on it.

Man working on a laptop, sitting on a clock surface

At Foretheta, we work with diligence on writing a great product specification. We spend time on research and development before the product goes into production. We recommend writing and proofreading the product spec until it is coherent. In conclusion, clarity in communication with the development and production team is essential. The product specification document is the main communication channel between the designer and production manager. Thus, it should be comprehensive and thorough.

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