Back To CourseUser Experience Design Training
6 chapters | 63 lessons
Temitayo has 11+ years Industrial Experience in Information Technology and has a master's degree in Computer Science.
A Product Specification Document (PSD) helps to capture all of the expected specifications and requirements needed in a product being conceptualized to enable both the design team and potential product users to understand more about the product before it is actually built and readied for distribution or end-use.
The PSD is often confused with a Product Requirement Document (PRD) in that their contents are similar with the only difference being the more technical inclination of the PRD.
For example, where a PRD would list the requirements for a user login page and the standard security requirements, a PSD version of the same user login page would describe in-depth the same standard security requirements.
William works as a product manager for a payment service provider. He is saddled with the task of creating a product specification document for a product in its early conception stage. To help him create this PSD well, he used the following steps as a guide.
With the product in mind, William researched potential and existing users and competitors of the product, the capabilities of the in-house technology team to develop and maintain this product using a product build approach (checking if the product's development needed to be outsourced), and read positive and negative reviews of an existing or similar product currently on the market. He also examined the potential composition of the product team.
Next, William needed to define what the product is meant to do or the problem it would solve and how it will help customers or users achieve their desired goal in using the product. This step is very important as it is only through a clear understanding of the product's purpose that management and other team members will support the idea. He needs management approval for this product to be created and development to continue.
Once the product's purpose is clarified, William moved on to defining how the product will utilize user profiles, and help users achieve their goals and complete desired tasks by using the product.
Every user of a product has particular needs or goals which they look to getting met through the use of the product and how they want it solved. For our payment service provider example, there are some users who feel having to create an account profile on eCommerce platforms is not necessary. They want to log on as a guest and conclude their transactions semi-anonymously. Others would want to have an account profile but require less burden involved in the process. All of these users' needs have to be accommodated in a product if it is to succeed.
On the other hand, the product itself may have a goal to be achieved by requesting users to have an account profile (e.g., take care of issues resulting from transactions). The product manager needs to examine both needs and see if this can be achieved without compromising the end product's quality.
William needs to ensure that goal-related tasks are well-designed around the expected user's profile. For example, he needs to ask, ''What task can a logged on or a guest user perform on the product and how will it affect the overall product's aim and objective?''
William needs a well-defined product principle to help drive his passion for the success of the product and its quick adoption for use by target users.
The product principles are sets of strategies, values and goals which represents the overall direction a product is heading in line with the expected user's profile. It is a value and vision which must also be bought and driven by the product team.
An example of this is when a user that wants to make a transaction on an eCommerce site without creating a user account/profile, would still expect that same transaction to be safely carried out. This same user expects his/her transaction to be simple, straight forward and secured.
Going with these expectations, a suitable product principle would be ''Safe'' and ''Simple to Use'' among other catchy phrases aimed at assuring the users of its readiness to support their expectations.
At this stage, William, based on the initial product information that he's been able to come up with and working together with other members of the product team, tried to create a prototype of what the end product would look like and subject it to various tests such as the following:
Enables investigation into whether or not the product can be built using existing technologies and manpower.
Enables investigation into how users will handle the product and irons out any potential bottlenecks or missing requirements or specifications for the product.
Product Concept Testing
Helps in validating that the product specifications gathered in the PSD stage are valid goals of the product before embarking on its actual implementation.
Based on the results gathered during prototyping and product concept testing, William identified and drew up a list of assumptions which needed to be questioned in order to help him and his team more closely understand the product as well as compare initial specifications to the actual situation.
Next, William wrote down all he had gathered so far about the product along these lines:
He now has a ''living'' document which can be updated with more details when the need arises.
William senses that too many features could be a problem in the product. He knows the best option would be to prioritize the features according to the exigency of needs. He may not have to discard all those not prioritized but rather reschedule them for implementation under future releases or whenever it becomes feasible to do so.
Having many features on a product sometimes is a plus when compared with competing products in the same category but not always an assurance that those features, if implemented, would have an edge over them. Rather it most often results in product release delays or coming in over budget.
After putting together, the draft version of the PSD, there's the need for the document to be reviewed by other team members to see if they can understand it and provide further input. During its compilation, William tried as much as possible to leave out specifications involving user interface, quality assurance, and user experience design in order for product team members specializing in those areas to review the product's PSD and provide their input.
It is only through a review of the draft document that the team will be able to confirm the document meets all of the team's requirements for completeness. Once this is confirmed and after approval by management, the document is ready to go ''live.''
With the PSD approved and product implementation in process, William still has to monitor that the product is being developed along the lines defined in the PSD. He is the product owner who knows all of the necessary components that the product needs to have at completion, which means he needs to be consulted throughout the process.
During consultations, he will need to refer to the PSD and where necessary, update it with changes to match the present needs of the day. All of these changes will tracked by versioning the document. This he does by creating a revision table where he notes down changes carried out on the document and the date. With this he can conveniently roll-back to any document version if required.
A Product Specification Document is a document which contains specifications and requirements information about a product to be built or implemented. It is used by other members of the product team to come out with a final product based on their understanding of the document.
It remains a ''living'' document which can be updated as the product's requirements change in order to increase the product's marketability.
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Back To CourseUser Experience Design Training
6 chapters | 63 lessons
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