How To Use My HAMMER Notion Template To Nail Product Planning by@dakic

How To Use My HAMMER Notion Template To Nail Product Planning

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Momcilo Dakic HackerNoon profile picture

Momcilo Dakic

Product Owner at Symphony.is | http://momcilodakic.com | Author of Treasure Roadmap book.

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Intro

As a Product Manager, I’ve tried a lot of techniques and frameworks to communicate product vision and align the team and stakeholders on what needs to be done, why, and when. Some of the techniques gave great results and others were a complete mess. Over the years, going through that trial and error process enabled me to identify techniques with fantastic results and ditch the other ones that were just a waste of time.

That’s how I came up with the HAMMER Product Planning Kit.

WTF is HAMMER Product Planning Kit? Well, HAMMER stands for:

  • Hypothesis
  • Analysis
  • Mapping
  • Methodology
  • Engineering
  • Roadmap

Forgive me, but I had to name it somehow, it IS a tool after all…

So, what is it?

HAMMER Product Planning Kit is a directory of resources to help you understand and execute product planning. It is organized in several abstraction layers. Starting from a high-level business perspective, and then gradually drilling down to technical details. The final result is a shared vision, development plan, roadmap, based on the knowledge from all the documents included.

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This kit consists of 5 major documents:

  1. Product Vision Board (Hypothesis Analysis)
  2. Platform Overview (Mapping)
  3. Functional Specification (Methodology)
  4. System Design (Engineering)
  5. Roadmap

Product Vision Board

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Product Vision Board is a high-level overview of the product (business layer). It provides product vision, description of the users, their needs, and required features to fulfill those needs. This is a strategic document, that should be used as a guide for setting goals and initiatives.

It acts as the overarching goal guiding everyone involved in the development effort. This will help you understand why are you building the product, who are you building it for, and what is the expected business outcome.

Why is this document important: to align on high-level project goals. This will help you prioritize work. What contributes to the goal is important, and other features not contributing to the goal will be postponed and de-prioritized. Also, understanding users and their needs will help you and your team in solving challenges by creating tailored solutions.

Platform Overview

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This document provides a high-level overview of the product that you are building. It describes the business process behind the app and each step in that process. This is a place where you describe the user journey, workarounds, friction points, and everything that will contribute to the understanding of the user’s steps. But to get there, first, you need to interview your users and test your hypothesis defined in the Product Vision Board.

Why is this document important: to understand end-to-end scenarios (users’ journey) for each role, and to understand the information architecture and business flow for each of the features. This will be a starting point for the development team to break down work items into epics. Understanding the process will help the team in making decisions and building better solutions.

Functional Specification

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This document describes the application and all its features (application layer). These features should map exactly to the needs described in the Platform Overview document. Functional Specification contains feature descriptions as well as high-fidelity mockups and UX flows.

Why is this document important:

  • To let the developers know what to build.
  • To let the QA engineers know what tests to run.
  • To let stakeholders know what they are getting.

System Design

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This document contains a set of tasks (tactics) to achieve the goals described in previous documents. It contains a list of all technical tasks, user stories, job stories and C-diagrams with an architecture overview.

Why is this document important: this gives a clear picture of the architecture, product design, modules, interfaces, and data for a system to satisfy specified requirements. Essentially, this will help you build your product backlog with work items. But with all the work done so far, each work item will clearly contribute to your vision and user needs, since each work item is derrived from there.

Roadmap

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This document contains a high-level delivery plan with proposed delivery milestones - versions. Each version has a “What’s on the box” section which describes what will be delivered to end-users, with emphasis on outcomes rather than outputs. Also, there’s a list of objectives and tasks required to achieve the goal for each version.

Why is this document important: The document will be used as a development guide, ensuring the team is always working on high-value - high-priority tasks. Also, this will help us keep track of the progress and measure success.


What to do with this?

You did an amazing job gathering all the information, understanding your users, aligning with your team and stakeholders. You’ve covered all five layers of abstraction, and five phases for roadmap development.

Phase

Document

Layer

Discover

Product Vision Board

Business

Define

Platform Overview

Information

Conceptualise

Functional Specification

Application

System Design

System Design

Technology

Plan

Roadmap

Timeline

Now, share these documents with your team members, stakeholders, managers, and everybody that you find appropriate. Look back at everything that you gathered and acknowledge the huge value captured in these documents. This will help you and your team to build an amazing product since everybody is aligned on what needs to be built, and more importantly why it needs to be built. Having a sense of purpose will give you a huge advantage and motivation.


Where can I learn more?

Everything mentioned in this article (and more) is part of the Notion template that I created for myself. It’s pretty useful for new projects, where you have the entire structure laid out, ready for you to start rocking. You can find the template here.

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I use this concept for each new project. It helps me understand what needs to be built and why. Having this in written helps me communicate product plan with team members and stakeholders. As a result, everybody is aligned, motivated and contributing to the shared goal.

This Notion template will help you:

  • Create your product hypothesis and understand user needs
  • Let your team know what to build and why are they building it
  • Let your stakeholders (investors) know what they are getting

Good luck!

Momcilo Dakic HackerNoon profile picture
by Momcilo Dakic @dakic.Product Owner at Symphony.is | http://momcilodakic.com | Author of Treasure Roadmap book.
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