Discover what makes a good product specification and how to write one.
Published 7 Sep 2023
Product specs, known as product specifications, are like a roadmap that outlines a product's characteristics, requirements, functions, and looks. It may also include who the product is intended for.
The specifications of this product have to be stated accurately, be easy to comprehend, and cover all the information your design team and product team require. Providing as many details as possible will help your production staff avoid vague descriptions. Putting this information in a table or chart can make it easier for them to find additional information.
An effective product spec should answer these key questions:
The product spec is essential in product creation, as it requires extensive deliberation during the beginning stages of building a concept. It’s part of the product management process and helps to ensure that the product meets customer needs and expectations.
It speaks to what is being created and its target audience and provides insight into the ultimate result. It offers excellent understanding for those involved in programming the product. Moreover, it serves as a reference to keep track of development progress. An effective product spec brings clarity, making development easier and keeping teams focused, helping to avoid costly miscommunications.
Product specifications generally come in three main types: functional, performance, and design. Here’s an overview of these three types:
Functional product specification templates are used to define the functions and features of a product. It typically includes the following details about the product:
On the other hand, performance product specification templates describe how the product is expected to work. These metrics include speed, accuracy, and reliability. Moreover, this type also considers the product’s performance in varying environments, such as temperature, humidity, and vibration.
Lastly, design product specification templates define how a product is built and designed, such as its shape, color, and texture. They can also specify other design elements that constitute a product, such as its dimensions, finishes, and materials.
The first step in writing a product spec is to define the problem you are trying to solve. It’ll help you create a clear vision of what the product should do and how it should function. It’s essential to be specific and include details about the target audience, their needs, and how the product will meet those needs.
Customer feedback is essential for product development. Whether it’s customer complaints, questions, suggestions, or feature requests, it helps you understand what customers want and how they use the product.
It’s vital to bring together the right people from different departments and have them discuss the product, its features, and how it should be developed. Every idea is heard, and everyone is on the same page. Additionally, it allows for a more collaborative approach to product development by bringing in fresh and innovative ideas.
Product requirements are the criteria that must be met for a product to be successful. It includes features, performance, usability, and other factors. It’s essential to create a list of requirements that are specific and measurable so that progress can be tracked throughout the development process.
Additionally, it’s vital to prioritize these requirements based on importance and feasibility. It’ll help ensure that the essential features are implemented first.
It allows you to test the product and its features before committing to full-scale development. It helps ensure that the product meets customer needs, expectations, and other requirements. Additionally, it can be used to gather feedback from potential customers and make any necessary changes before launching the product.
User testing allows you to test the product with real users and get feedback on how it works, what features are missing, and what needs to be improved. You can use it to identify any potential usability issues or bugs.
Once the product has been tested and feedback has been gathered, it’s time to revise it and make any necessary changes. It includes ensuring all features are working correctly, addressing usability issues, and applying the valuable insights discovered during user testing. Once satisfied with the adjustments, provide your product details to the development team so they can start building it.
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Product specification outlines the technical aspects of the product. Product specifications detail a product’s features from a technical or technological standpoint. Specifications are produced at the culmination of the architecture stage during product design and development.
A technical product specification outlines the purpose of a product, its main functions, and how the product team will develop it. It should also include details about what challenges it seeks to address, the technology used, and the specific needs of users.
Following the specifications helps ensure the product is safe, reliable, and high-quality. Additionally, following product specifications helps to reduce costs by avoiding unnecessary rework or delays in production. It also helps to ensure the product meets customer expectations and requirements.
Quality specifications are detailed requirements that define the quality of a product, service, or process. Quality includes tangible elements such as measurements and intangible elements such as smell and taste. Examples are thread count of fabric for clothing materials, service uptime for software, or quality of ingredients for formulations.
Product managers are the ones in charge of creating product specifications. This document maps out all essential details to develop and construct the product in line with the customer’s requirements. Product teams can then refer to this document during the product management process.
An effective product specification must have the following characteristics: clarity, conciseness, completeness, and correctness. The goal is to communicate vital information about the product, so keeping things brief is the way to go. These details can also be supported further using visual elements (e.g., photos and diagrams).
SafetyCulture is a multi-purpose inspection app that provides users with a valuable platform to help them easily create their product specifications. SafetyCulture can be used throughout product development, from defining the problem to user testing.
Rob Paredes is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. He is a content writer who also does copy for websites, sales pages, and landing pages. Rob worked as a financial advisor, a freelance copywriter, and a Network Engineer for more than a decade before joining SafetyCulture. He got interested in writing because of the influence of his friends; aside from writing, he has an interest in personal finance, dogs, and collecting Allen Iverson cards.
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