Drowning in product documentation? Start swimming – Part 1

(Updated from the original on 3 December 2015)

Do you spend more time writing documents about your product than actually managing it?

Many companies with a product management function become all caught up in the process, drowning themselves in increasing numbers of documents. These rapidly become overwhelming to manage, contain duplicated detail and ultimately obscure the real goal of product management, namely to create successful products.

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33 cut-out-and-keep usability requirements for your product

I strongly believe that all software companies should have a manifesto or a set of guidelines which set out in practical terms how they will ensure that their products are intuitive for the types of user for which they’re intended.

Good Design Quote courtesy of inspireUX

For product managers, even if your company or Development team doesn’t “get” usability, you can build these into your product requirements and use your Quality Assurance team to check the requirements have been delivered.

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Ill communication

Ah, emails.  How did we manage without them?  Personally, I think quite well.  Now we appear to be unable to tear ourselves away from them.

They taunt us in our inbox, begging for attention.  They follow us on our mobile devices, so there is no respite.  Most importantly, they’re categorically not suited to all situations.  Move a bit closer to the screen – I have some valuable advice for you…

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Context is everything

BMW Versus Audi

Your developers may be happiest when they’re hacking gnarly code, leaving you to get on with engaging with the market, but this doesn’t mean you can ignore their need for context – the ‘why’ of their project.

Over the years, I have spoken to many disgruntled developers over a beer after work.  This isn’t entirely coincidental as they tend to dwell in the kind of pubs I enjoy: real ale, good selection of crisps, ability to hear oneself think, minimal bar fights, that kind of thing.

What tends to be a recurring theme of their disgruntlement is that they don’t see the point of their current project. They feel aggrieved that they’re not doing something more interesting instead.  And you know what, if it’s your project, it’s your fault.  Bad product manager.

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