Good Product Brief, Bad Product Brief
Tips on how to write briefs that drive progress and impact for your teams.
LS
Lane Shackleton

After 10+ years of writing and reviewing product briefs at Google, YouTube and Coda, I've observed a few patterns. As a hat tip to a
, here's some simple advice as you embark on writing or editing that next brief.


Good product briefs set clear
context
for the reader.

By contrast, bad product briefs leave the reader wondering how we got here.

Example starter language:

We began this project by...

Prior to this project, there have been related efforts...


Good product briefs start by articulating the
problem
and
why
it's important to solve.

By contrast, bad product briefs start with a single solution and take that solution into detail.

Example starter language:

In order to understand the problem more clearly, we plan to...

We believe the key customer problem to address is...


Good product briefs have a plan on how the team will
learn
.

By contrast, bad product briefs assume the first answer will be 'right' for the customer.

Example starter language:

In order to learn from customers quickly, we plan to...

We'll review learnings as a team at these intervals...


Good product briefs touch on
social
&
emotional
aspects of the product.

By contrast, bad product briefs only describe functional aspects of the product.

Example starter language:

Our users should feel...

When this feature is adopted by a team, we expect...


Good product briefs bring the
tough questions
to the surface early.

By contrast, bad product briefs avoid the tough tradeoffs or hide hard questions.

Example starter language:

A difficult question we anticipate needing to answer is...

We foresee a real tradeoff between...


Good briefs build
momentum
toward the next phase of a project.

By contrast, bad product briefs leave people wondering what will happen next.

Example starter language:

We'll plan to gain early momentum by starting...

The list of our next steps can be found...



Fun additions