UX Lead with a passion for all things UX, IA, Product Design, and Music

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Product Planning Google Doc

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I thought I’d share a product release google doc that I created to track releases, tasks, and what we’ve learned about our product and team as we go from release to release.

Not every product needs 40 pages of documentation in a ms word file that nobody wants to read. I’ve taken a typical PRD (product requirements document) and a great simplified method by Adam Bullied [ which you can check out here ] and made a spreadsheet that you can collaborate on. Each release has a tab and there are also tabs for release history, upcoming, and goals you’d like to achieve. You can make this spreadsheet as simple or extensive as you wish. Just duplicate the file and delete what isn’t right for you and your team.

I like breaking up each release into the following, which you can see defined in Adam’s post: theme, requirements, criteria, goals. I like splitting the requirements area into ‘Main Driver’, ‘Constraints’, and ‘Floats’. This works best once you’ve gone into development and quick release cycles. You can see in the template how I left one example partially filled in. In this example I’ve tried to incorporate UX and visual design. It’s going ok, but I’d like to modify it to focus on specific deliverables next time when in a more design heavy part of the release.

This definitely isn’t for everyone… but for those who like collaborative spreadsheets and hate 40 pages of words as your product management method, this might be something to try.

• My Product Release Planner (google doc) (check it out and give me feedback)

Another tool I really like is Team Gantt. Gantt is a word a lot of people don’t want to hear, but I love the minimalism and interaction of this app. A tool is only worthwhile if it’s used effectively and for the right purpose. I’ve noticed on small projects visual designers and/or those without project managers enjoy Team Gantt.