What Is a Product Brief?
Product brief definition
“A product brief is a go-to guide for everyone involved in product development. It is a short document made collaboratively to include all the essential aspects of the product. Such as product requirements, goals, attributes, and specifications.”
A product brief, also called product spec, is a brief document that contains information on a product’s goals, attributes, and guidelines.
It highlights specific information and requirements needed by the product team for building a new product or adding a feature to it.
You can refer product briefs to all the departments involved in product creation. It’s a guiding source that helps different departments adhere to the basic ideas for product creation.
Importance of a Product Brief
It’s a kind of roadmap or guidelines that all the teams must follow. It provides context for the stakeholder’s product vision. Likewise, it puts every department involved in development into a genuinely collaborative effort.
A well-tailored product brief removes misunderstandings and enhances creativity and brainstorming ideas.
For example, you set up a platform to connect engineering students with firms offering internship opportunities.
Product briefs will help the developer, designer, and marketing teams churn out relevant ideas for the target market. In this case, the target audience is students seeking internships and firms offering them.
What Are the Elements of a Product Brief?
Suppose you want to know the details of your product, you must include the following elements of a product brief.
Purpose of the Product and Goals
The first item in your brief product checklist must be the details of your product, the user issues it will tackle, and a brief about how the product relates to the objectives set by the company.
Also, it is essential to mention the demographics you are looking at when you say the user issues. You can also discuss further the customer base and user personas.
Here you will have to decide on the metrics to measure your product’s progress. Having metrics in place will help you not go in the wrong direction.
Features of Your Product
This section of your product brief will take up more space than any other section. It is because you will not just write what features you wish to include but also describe the user’s experience with each feature.
Some of the most important questions you can ask here are :
- How does this feature benefit the users?
- Are they satisfied and feeling good about the interaction?
- Are the features connected with your product goals?
- How much impact do these features have on the experience users have with the product?
If answering these feature questions seems overwhelming, you can make a feature priority list and then cut down the ones you cannot schedule or because of scope creep.
Time for Beta Testing and Product Release
Setting a deadline for beta testing and releasing your product is essential.
If you don’t put a timeline, you might get stuck in the loop of scope creep, giving your time and resources yet not having a product ready for testing and releasing.
To avoid this, mention your release criteria when writing product briefs. You can discuss these criteria with product managers, design and development e team members.
You can use the following product brief checklist:
- Begin by mention about your product’s functions.
- Mention the features from the features list.
- Know if the usability of your product matches the use cases that you are targeting.
- Check if your product is user-friendly.
- Test whether your product is functioning efficiently before you release it.
- Check the stability and dependencies of your products.
Deadline to Develop the Product
You may set a flexible time because schedules are bound to change. But having an idea of the approximate time the development of the product will come to an end is a must.
Have a deadline that is not too agile or too tight.
Your product is complete only when you have included the timeline for implementation and after production map to analyze the results.
To set a rough timeline for your product, you can look at the factors your product deadline might be influenced by. Some of these factors could be:
- Constrained budget
- Team members are on leave
How to Write a Product Brief?
Things to be kept in mind while writing a product brief
Crafting a product brief can benefit your product’s quality and work efficiency. Hence the time spent on writing a product brief is worth it.
Every product brief will vary depending on the product and the teams. But knowing some tips for writing a product brief will always benefit you.
Use Product Brief as a Map
It is unnecessary to include all the details about your product in the product brief. Using broader strokes is enough. But keep in mind the product brief is a map and not a brief of instruction.
Use Precise Language
Writing a product brief with technical jargon will leave non-technical team members confused. They might end up with wrong assumptions about the product. Therefore, it is good to use precise language so that whoever looks at the product brief understands it very well.
Keep the Product Brief-Brief
The length of your product brief must be not more than a few pages. The product brief is an overview of the product. Hence stuffing it with unnecessary information will make it difficult for teams to refer to it further.
Carve the Path
Your product brief checklist must be a roadmap for the development team. It must answer the questions everyone is most likely to ask about the product. You must also specify why you are taking this route to build your product and how to go about it.
Insert Images Wherever Possible
To communicate effectively about your product, you are free to use images, flow charts, wireframes, tables, and graphs. Adding visualizations to your product brief will make it more appealing and help everyone understand the critical aspects of the product.
Get Feedback From Your Teams
Remember not to add the “how” questions in your product brief. Once you have done your part in writing a product brief, ask your team members and everyone else to give insights.
Ask if you need to make any changes or if you are missing out on any crucial details.
Product Briefs Are Always Changing
Product briefs are not rigid documents. According to your product updates, you will have to add or delete information every day, week, or even month. Have an open mind and experiment with your product brief.
What Is an Example of a Product Brief?
To help you better understand writing a product brief, let’s look at a product brief example.
Suppose we have to build a product called XYZoey. That is how you can write the product brief.
XYZoey is a system that helps with feedback.
The Problem the Product Solves:
Feedback is a concern for everyone in the product development team. The problems of product feedback in detail, arguing over what to prioritize based on feedback, everything is taken care of by XYZoey.
Product Features and Benefits:
XYZoey allows you to gather feedback from your users along with built-in users. It also gives you space to record the input.
XYZoey will focus on product managers in SaaS companies.
Mention in detail all the competitors your product has. And how your product is trying to solve the same problem but with more efficiency rates.
What additional features does your product have that your competitors don’t, and how is your product standing out from the crowd? These are the questions you need to answer in this section.
Discuss the pricing model with your teams and briefly explain it in this section.
Release and Testing Dates:
Set a time for beta testing and general release. In this section, put the approximate timings of releases.
Product Brief Is Written, Now What?
Once you write all the required elements of a product brief, the product manager can then share it with stakeholders and other teams. That can help with buy-in, and you can also incorporate changes suggested by teams.
After the buy-in comes, the product manager has several tasks like conducting market research, writing user stories and product requirements documents, and carrying out development duties.
Q: Who prepares a product brief?
A: A product manager makes the product brief. Also, the teams involved in the production may provide some feedback to the product manager on this.
Q: Product Brief vs. Creative Brief
A: The product brief includes requirements, goals, and the other vital details of the product. The product manager creates it. On the other hand, creative briefs include the details of the project, such as marketing, advertising, messaging, etc. It is created either by an innovative manager or a consultant.
Q: How do you start a product brief?
A: Your product brief must start with a brief about your product’s what and why. The ‘what’ section includes the details about your product, and the ‘why’ will have your product’s importance. Moving forward, one of the elements of a product brief must explain what user problems your product will solve and how you plan on achieving that goal.