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The Best Way To Create Product Specifications

Aug 17, 2007
When a business plan to have a product and decide to outsource the activity the big mistake is not to have a contract in place with the supplier and good product specifications.

The product specifications should, or better let's say, must be an annex to the contract or agreement: black on white!

Many people have no or do not want to spend the necessary time to have a good start when outsourcing a task. This is really the most important part of a project, the product development phase. Everything depends on this phase.

In your product specifications you should have made a list of the features and all the functions your product should be characterized of. At this aim you should know well your product before it really exists. You should have an expert managing this activity and provide these descriptions.

The best way to start a product specification is to perform a product break down structure. You try to split your product in all its parts. Then you need to describe all their parts. As a consequence you have your feature lists.

Then you should provide a description of each feature and what its functions are. If you define all the functions for each feature you are starting to create the product specifications. The supplier has no doubt about what that product should be designed for.

Try then to split your product according to the functionalities it has to guarantee. This is a work breakdown structure. In this way you may see that a particular functionality is achieved through the combination of the actions of more than one of the product features. If the functionality is achieved through one feature then you are almost close to the product breakdown structure.

Now organize your product specification document in two sections. In the first section provide the feature list. In the second one provide a list of all the functionalities that must be guaranteed in the product. You can collect this information from the description of each feature and from the work breakdown structure.

For each feature in the feature list provide the characteristics they should have (e.g. if one feature is the current consumption of an electronic device then you should mention what the current intensity should be). In other words provide the values of the parameters, if we call in this way your product features.You should then provide a full description of the process related to each feature. Specify the inputs and the outputs for that functionality and a description of the process. For example if we are talking about a software tool and mentioning the registration of an user the inputs are the user's data, the output is the generation of an account (storage of a record into a database) and the process is related to the creation of the account (insert into a database and forwarding of the data to the user).

You should also mention all the particular cases and exception. Do not leave anything as granted.

If you do not create a good product specification document and you have problem with your supplier, he/she will always be right. In fact you could have missed out what you wanted to be satisfied.
This is the only way to have an efficient product development, reducing mistakes, risks, wrong functionalities.
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Find out how Business Management ideas applied to Internet Marketing make companies become more professional at http://www.davincistrategylab.com.
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