A product brief (or product spec) is a short document that outlines all the requirements, goals, and specifications needed to build and launch a product.
The product brief acts as a single-source of truth for all departments involved in a project, from UX design to software development, marketing, and sales. Ideally, the document should be the result of a collaborative effort, to make sure that all aspects of product development have been accurately sketched out.
A product brief provides vital context for the build and unifies the efforts of all departments involved in product development. In doing so, it helps product teams push in the same direction and stay on schedule. A well-crafted product brief eliminates presumptions and avoids misunderstandings, offering clear strategic guidelines.
A product brief is also important because it creates a fruitful environment for product teams to collaborate and brainstorm new ideas.
Let’s say you’re building a new platform designed to connect event managers with sponsors. A product brief can help developers and marketing teams start a conversation around the importance of certain features according to market relevance. This way, the outcome is guaranteed to be high-quality and have a certain degree of novelty essential to all successful user-centric products.
For a product brief to achieve its goal, it needs to answer several key questions that are of interest to all product development teams.
To begin with, the document has to include a short summary about the product (the ‘what’) and the motivation behind building it (the ‘why’).
Since successful products tackle real consumer needs, the brief has to underline the problem the product is trying to solve and give further insight into how it plans to do so.
A market analysis (SWOT predictions, use cases, metrics) is also mandatory, alongside an overview of the competition. The reason for this simple: the more real-market data your team has, the better their solutions will be.
Of course, no product brief would be complete without a schedule for implementation and a post-production plan to measure the results, too.