Project Product Description
The Project Product Description is normally a 1-3 page description of the main product that will be produced by the project. The structure of this document is covered in both the quality and plans themes. The Project Manager will extract this information from the Senior User role which can be one or more people and will also involve subject matter experts who give feedback on what is and what is not possible to do. Project Product Description defines what the project must deliver in order to gain acceptance and it is used to:
- Gain agreement from the user on the what they want (project’s scope)
- Define the customer’s quality expectations so the project can deliver a fit for purpose product
- Define the acceptance criteria, method and responsibilities for the project.
Timeline Highlight Report
- The Project Product Description (PPD) is created in the Starting up a Project process and is part of the Project Brief
- It is then refined during the Initiating a Project process when creating the Project Plan, so it is still used during the project.
- The Project Product Description should be checked at stage boundaries (during Managing a Stage Boundary ) to see if the scope of the project has changed and if any changes are required.
- At the end of the project ( Closing a Project process) it is used to verify that the project has delivered what was expected of it, and that the acceptance criteria have been met.
Sample Project Product Description
Sample from the Driving School project on Trello
- The purpose section is clear and therefore easy to understand.
- It shows how the project product will be accepted.
- Customer quality expectation give a high level overview.
- Acceptance criteria is clear and includes quality information.
AXELOS Sample - Annual conference
PEN Project Sample
As you can see, you not have to create a big document, this is just one slide.
Source data for the Project Product Description
- Discussions with the Senior User using facilitated workshops
- Discussions with the Executive
- Request for proposal which includes an overview of requirements (customer/supplier environment)
- Subject Matter Experts (future Team Managers)
Format Project Product Description
- Word / PDF document.
- Presentation slides
- Entry in a project management tool: see the Trello example above
- Clear purpose of the main product
- Complete scope of the project and perhaps what is not included
- Clear (not vague) and realistic acceptance criteria that will be used to assess the project
- Acceptance criteria should cover stakeholder requirements
- Define how the main project product will be assessed
- All criteria are measurable
- Each criterion is individually realistic
- All criteria can be proven within the project life (see the above examples)
Tips from Frank
- You do not have to write a massive Project Product Description.
- Remind of users of the type of Project Product Description you wish to create with them and show them an example of PC or house (1 page that gives a very good idea of the product).
- Start with a clear purpose and get buy in on this purpose.
- For each feature discussed as the question: How can we prove we have meet your expectations.
- E.g., Fast search results ==> Search results in < 2 seconds
- E.g., Big SSD Drive ==> SSD Drive 500 GB
- Review the Project Product Description if a change request is accepted and see if it needs to be updated.