Great product specifications are the cornerstone of excellent products. Without an easy-to-follow and well-researched guide, a new product can lack sales or even cost the company money in the long run.
Creating a great written plan is not too difficult, but it does require a lot of research, time, and critical thinking.
How to Write Great Product Specifications
Product specifications are the plans that lead the design team through the developmental process and ultimately result in a finished product. To write a good guide, use customer opinion for the focal point, focus on detail, and set reasonable goals.
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Customer feedback is the most integral part of creating a valuable and lucrative product. Gather customer opinions throughout the process, and ensure that the product specifications change to fit their needs.
Start with research to clearly understand the target audience and the issues they face. Consider their point of view and ask questions such as:
- What problems do customers experience?
- How can a new product address these problems?
- What is the profile of the target audience? (age, country, etc.)
- What do customers like or dislike about this product’s competitors?
Gathering feedback throughout the design and prototyping process confirms that the team will swiftly adjust to new information.
Quick feedback keeps the project on the right path and prevents any wasted time and money. Just make sure the design team is ready to accept criticism. Refusal to change can quickly kill a great project.
Product specifications should be detailed but not overly so.
Instructions should be clear enough to guarantee that everyone understands the project and its goals.
To ensure the design team can follow the directions they’re given, the most critical aspects of the outline should be detailed and easy to read. If a word is subjective, explain what it means or use a different one.
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For example, ‘an appealing layout’ is vague and can be interpreted in many ways. Instead, give the team examples or refer them to descriptions of what customers find ‘appealing.’
Overly detailed specifications can also create problems. The team needs to have enough leeway to adapt to customer feedback. Also, people who can express themselves creatively tend to communicate quicker, accept failure easier, and work faster.
Clear goals and objectives are what keep a project on time and ensure great products. Write goals with the customer and business in mind.
Split goals into smaller objectives that keep the project flowing and ensure every team member knows what they need to accomplish.
When writing objectives, make sure they are achievable, measurable, and manageable. Include due dates, approximate costs, which team members will complete them, and how to measure success.
Overall goals also need to follow similar guidelines. Questions to consider about the project include:
- Is my team able to reach the deadlines? Are there enough team members?
- How will we keep from going over budget even if we have to change aspects of the project to fit customer feedback?
- When will we perform customer and in-house feedback sessions? What is the best way to obtain feedback?
- How will we know if the project is a success? Is there a specific dollar amount we want to reach in terms of sales? How do we guarantee we hit the target?
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The Bottom Line
Product specifications are an integral part of creating any great product—a great plan centers around addressing consumer issues, customer feedback, and creating and achieving realistic goals.
By utilizing detailed and clear instructions, the design team can better understand the target result. At the same time, it provides more leeway that they can be creative in constructing a unique and customer-approved product.