Product Decision Document Template

In my company, I have a lot of scoping work and product changes from many different stakeholders. Sometimes, the changes come from our users, the management, and developers. Therefore, keeping track of everything and making everyone accountable for what was discussed is not a simple matter of taking meeting notes.

Also, there were occasions where certain features were developed and released, but nobody could pinpoint the decisions leading to that. To solve that issue, I started using a Product Decision Document Template.

It is a document that contains the original business problem and opportunity. It has all the primary considerations, materials, and ideas.

Finally, the document has the seal of approval from the stakeholders.

My template has been helping me a lot, and it helps to locate the reasons for a decision. Also, it is self-contained, meaning that it has all the necessary materials in one single file.

Here is my current template inspired by McKinsey’s way of consulting:

  • I save it as a PowerPoint
  • Agenda
  • Opportunity (I used to call it Problem)
  • Recommendations
  • My most substantial advice and opinion in a paragraph
  • Why with 3 bullet points maximum - the most vital reasons
  • One alternative and explain why that is not a great idea, but the management can take it
  • More alternatives but just to show that they have been considered
  • The ask: The Powers That Be approve my idea X
  • Estimated Timeline / Roadmap of what the approval entails
  • Required resources: money, ppl, boss support
  • Caveats
  • Appendix: all my supporting materials, scope materials, wireframes, etc.

When they approve, I put s big sign that was approved by XYZ person or committee.

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