What Does Your Brief Need?
A quality creative product brief, like the one our healthcare client shared with us, contains the following 10 elements:
1. A clear background
Without context, designers and developers don’t know what they’re looking at. Describe the landscape you’ll launch into. What solutions have been tried before? What are hallmarks of the brand — which typefaces, which textures? What’s unique about your product? Only by starting with a common background can your team stay on the same page.
2. A description of your user
Never build a product without a clear picture of the target user. Try our empathy-mapping technique to get inside user’s heads and, as we did with Paradata, interview key stakeholders to find out their needs.
3. Technical requirements
What are product’s technical specifications? Is the team building on top of pre-existing infrastructure? What platform will the product be built on? Creating a VR product for Cardboard is very different from building one for Oculus Rift. Ensure that developers, whether in-house or third-party, have a say so they can identify potential snags. At this stage, technical details needn’t be perfect, but they should address major features and platforms.
4. Stakeholder details
Accurate stakeholder information saves your team time and headaches during review and approval steps. Who will give final sign-off to the project? Who makes decisions when issues arise? Which decision makers are involved at each step of the process? Sketch an organization chart for easy reference. Add your current contacts, and use LinkedIn to fill in others. Remember, titles matter, so don’t neglect them. Because online resources fall out-of-date, ask a company contact to double-check the chart.
5. Product flows
What one to three fundamental tasks does your product perform? Don’t fall prey to blue-sky thinking: Just describe the essential experience and desired result. More will come later in product development. For instance, a banking app’s core functions might be to display the user’s balance, facilitate transfers, and list transactions. Stay focused on the product’s most important flows.