Product Managers: This is the Documentation You Need to Obsess Over

Editor’s note; this post was written by a guest blogger. If you’re interested in contributing to our blog, please contact gaby@productschool.com

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Being the best product manager you can be is no easy feat, and there are multiple disciplines you need to be focused on; whether that’s being creative, being technically minded, understanding your customer, and having the mindset that can help a product come to life.

However, understanding the importance of your documentation and really taking control of how the documents at every stage of the process can be managed is going to be one of the core aspects contributing to your success. With this in mind, today we’re going to explore eight types of document you need to be focused on.

1. Product Strategy (Vision) Documentation

Whenever a product or service project is beginning, it’s essential to make sure you clearly define what you’re going to do and what your end goals are. By having these defined with precision, you’ll be able to ensure everyone is on the same page, and all teams and departments are working towards the same objectives with the same prioritises.

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2. Product Specification Documentation

This kind of documentation is essential because it brings all the information about your app, product, or service, into one place. You can focus on everything here, from physical product details, features lists, aesthetic and marketing materials, and approaches to sales and branding.

Of course, each of these documents and the priorities will differ depending on the type of product you’re working towards, but clearly defining your expectations will help to bring everyone together and will help to get organised.

3. Competitive Analysis Documentation

Being one step ahead in understanding how your competitor’s products and services are working is so crucial to your business’s success, especially when it comes to identifying strengths and weaknesses and acting accordingly.

By analysing not just the company, but also a detailed insight into their processes and what they’re doing, you’ll have everything you need to be better.

4. Success Metrics

“It’s impossible for you to define how well your project is going unless you have KPIs and success metrics to make it clear. How many units are you producing? How many are selling? What kind of percentage is an acceptable profit? How much waste are you producing? What are you spending on marketing?” shares Anna Farris, a project manager at Essayroo and Australianhelp.

These are all very important questions you need to be asking yourself when it comes to defining which direction your project is heading in, what your priorities are, and what you need to do to achieve your goals.

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5. Prototyping Documentation

In all product development projects, you’re going to have a stage where you’re testing the designs of your ideas and seeing what the best approach is moving forward. The chances are you’ll also be creating some kind of prototypes so you can judge how successful the whole project is going to be.

By documenting the entire process, you’ll be able to highlight key areas of concern, as well as auditing your process so you can refine and optimise your approach to create better results now and in future projects.

6. End-User Material Documentation

There’s a lot of material that you’ll need to think about creating while your product is being created for when it’s finally released to the public and/or your customers to create the best experience possible. Some examples of this documentation include;

• Internet guides

• FAQs

• Physical customer guides

• Product manuals

• Product packaging content

• Internal guides for your business to use

This is all the documentation you’ll need to think about creating for both end-users and your employees. For example, if a customer contacts your business with a problem with their product, you’re going to need to make sure your employees know how to deal with the problem in the quickest and most effective manner.

7. User Journey (Stories) Documentation

When developing a product, it’s imperative you make sure you know exactly what kind of customers and end-users you’re going to be working with, and how your product is going to affect their lives and benefit them in a positive way.

You might also be interested in: The Difference – User Flows vs User Journeys

“By creating user stories, you’ll be able to create plausible situations in which your product will be used, thus helping you optimise your product in the long-term to produce the best results” explains Julian Turner, a business writer at Paperfellows and Stateofwriting.

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8. Roadmap and Projection Documents

By road mapping the project, you’ll be able to clearly define what kind of timeframe your project is planned to last for, as well as being able to identify key milestones with key dates to aim for. This is a fantastic document to use because you’ll be able to make sure everything is on target, and you’ll be able to highlight key problem areas and address the issues before they cause any concerns and worries.

Summary

As you can see, there’s plenty of forms of documentation you’re going to need to think about and prioritise when working on a product as a product manager. In short, the more organised and in control of each stage of the process you can be, the better your final result will come out as.

Meet the Author

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Molly Crockett is a marketing and business manager for Ukwritings and Academized, where she writes advice for how managers can optimise their approach to their business practices.

She also helps seek new ways to help develop writing and research skills in young people, and she teaches such skills at Boomessays.

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