The Product Management Data Sheet – A simple but effective tool for collaboration

Using this simple tool, product management and marketing can collaborate more effectively across the entire product life cycle.

Originated at the very start of the product cycle, a Data Sheet is a concise but vital description of what your product is, who it is for, their needs, the benefits they will gain, the main features, and where necessary, supporting evidence.

  • It is used as a single version of the truth that can be referred to throughout the product life cycle. It will ensure that all work streams have an agreed focus and outcome.

  • It should primarily reflect the current analysis of the market, customer and other stakeholders.

  • It should be able to flex to accommodate changes from an Agile development methodology.

  • It sets high level guidelines or boundaries re the overall scope of the product which if breached need to be queried to ascertain if your product is still "market led" & valid.

  • Is a fundamental data source for the Positioning and Value Propositions that will be important when taking the product to market.

A typical Data Sheet template is depicted above and if used in the following way can make a real difference across the product life cycle.

  1. The Data Sheet should be well researched and defined within the initial assessment phase of any product lifecycle.

  2. It can then be used throughout the build phase, both as a common reference document for all involved and as a high level definition allowing a degree of flexibility.

  3. Finally, the Data Sheet should be a fundamental basis for the positioning and value proposition work required for launch.

A more comprehensive, illustration depicting this process can be found in my white paper Product Management & Product Marketing – A Symbiotic Relationship