PMTK Templates – Content Location

Question: "We are trying to tailor the PMTK templates for our own internal needs, but some of that content can be arguably placed in different documents. Can you please clarify this discrepancy?"

Answer: In product management there are three core deliverables. These are the Business Case, Market Requirements Document (MRD), and the Market Plan. All other documents in product management are a repackaging of content that is taken from the three core documents. The repackaging is done in order to provide only the relevant content for use by different audiences (marcom, sales, executives, etc') and for their different needs.

Question: "What parts of the market description, segments, trends, competitive info, etc. belong in the Business Case and which parts belong in the MRD?"

Answer: Where content belongs is a matter of logical order. The Business Case is an examination of a potential market opportunity on a product level and this document also contains summary information about the "market description, segments, trends, competitive info, etc". The Business Case does contain detailed information about the market opportunity and market problem so an informed Go/No-Go decision can be made on whether to embark on a product delivery project.

The Market Plan contains detailed information about the "market description, segments, trends, competitive info, etc" so in essence the Market Plan expands on certain topics that were conceptually discussed in the Business Case. The Market Requirements Document (MRD) contains a description of the market opportunity, market problem and the resulting market requirements. The market opportunity and market problem text in the MRD are a copy&paste from the Business Case document. The structure of the MRD is designed to be solely focused on documenting the market requirements.

Note: The Product Requirements Document (PRD) is a deliverable in the solution space and is completed by the Product Architect (a role that usually resides in Development). Therefore, the PRD is not a product management deliverable.

Question: "There's some overlap in the current templates in PMTK. How do we decide where to place certain content when adding more of it?"

Answer: There really isn't a true overlap. What we have in some instances is content replication and in other instances we have a broadening of the analysis or the documenting of certain topics. The Business case, MRD and Market Plan, are the most important documents in PMTK. The core documents serve as a backbone to almost all other PMTK templates. Information flows or is copied from the core documents to the other documents.

Question: "Where would the positioning strategy, value proposition, etc. go?"

Answer: These topics belong and are documented in the Market Plan document.

Question: "I can see how there might be an initial positioning concept in the business case stage, but when the PRD is completed (and we better understand the product ) this may change the positioning statement. Is this correct?"

Answer: Very correct. All PMTK documents are considered living documents and will be modified along the product delivery project.

Question: "Where is change captured? (in the document it was originally stated, or moved forward into the subsequent PMTK document?"

Answer: Change is always captured in the history of one or more of the three core deliverables (Business Case, MRD, and Market Plan). The changes are then permeated to the other documents which hinge upon the core deliverables.

Question: "In highly technical markets the products require lots of specs, regulations, compliance, etc. Is that a 'market' or 'product' requirement?"

Answer: Market requirements are lasting and do not expire when technology or the solution evolve. Market requirements do not describe the product's features or physical attributes or technology. Market requirements can describe "specs, regulations, compliance, etc" but indirectly by explaining the need for which the feature is the answer. For example: "The user shall be able to transmit 5GB of data" (incorrect) versus "The user shall be able to send digital documents at the highest available speeds" (correct).

Question: "In general I'm thinking to assign new content to the most appropriate 'owner' of that content. Is that correct?"

Answer: Just so we do not get confused, the Owner of a deliverable is an entity which is described in the PMTK Task Model.

Question: "For example, if content is about designing/engineering then it's for the PRD. If content is about business/marketing (stuff that someone with an MBA deals with) then it's for the Business Case. Is that correct?"

Answer: We need to separate the matter of a Deliverable and its Owner. For example, design and engineering related issues belong in the PRD deliverable and the Product Architect is the owner. Business and marketing content would go to the Business Case or the Market Plan deliverables and the owner is the Product Marketer.

Question: "The fuzzy case is the product planner. Isn't it always?"

Answer: Anything can be fuzzy if not properly defined.

Question: "Sometimes content is more about marketing and sometimes more about the product. I always use the Problem Space vs. Solution Space distinction to help here, but sometimes it isn't clear to me if the content is part of the market problem or the product's solution."

Answer: You will have more clarity after better understanding the role of the Product Planner (and other roles in product management) which are fully described in the "PMTK Role Descriptions" template that is part of Blackblot's Product Manager's Toolkit® (PMTK). For more information, see the Blackblot Product Definition Team Model. This issue is explained at length in the Blackblot "Product Definition Team Model" chapter in the PMTK Book.