- Product manager needs a unified plan of record for the product for which they are responsible
- The product master plan houses all product documentation
- It is a knowledge base that remains constant inside an organization while people come and go
One of the biggest challenges for any product manager when they begin a job is to find documentation to which you can refer in order to find out what was going on inside the project you inherited. You know that it can take weeks to months to get critical information together. In some cases there is little to no documentation to be found. I believe that first action when you enter your new position is to create a product master plan – a base camp. It is the one place all members of the cross-functional team can go to understand the product or product line. Make sure it is located in a shared location that they can easily access it. With this carefully build and tended document camp, all products activities can be quickly started by accessing existing research and knowledge. This is how products continue to drive revenues for the business well after the members have move onto the next camp. Keeping it in order will be well remembered and appreciated for the next team.
A product master plan:
- is not the strategy
- it serves as a mirror to the past, a bookmark for the current situation, and a roadmap to the future
- it is a living, evolving collection
- it is always being updated, but never discarded
- it is not a deck of presentations slides
- think of it as a binder
- it is a perfect communication platform among cross-functional teams
The value of a product master plan cannot be overemphasized. It is the heart and soul of everything related to the product. It captures the complete work efforts of a product team and is what holds together the cross-functional product team.
The diagram below can be used as both idea creator and binder organizer. It should adapt and grow to serve the needs of your product and cross-functional team.
Here is a sample of the product master plan organized into folders.
Do you have a product master plan to share? Leave a link to your plan in the comments or retweet this post with #productmasterplan.