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A Brief on Product Building: Project Management for Product Managers

A building made out of glass
Source: Joel Filipe, Unsplash

This is how the general thought or flow works out in real life, The CEO has a dream, an Idea, a Vision -

Vision > Goals > Intiatives > Releases > Epics > Features & Functionalities > User Story

Initiatives are collections of epics that drive toward a common goal.

Diagram showing initiative, epics and story



All company endeavors stem from the CEO's vision. To realize this vision, the company sets specific goals defined by metrics.

Epics are clusters of features or functionalities aimed at fulfilling these objectives.

Teams devise initiatives to attain these goals. Subsequently, the team rolls out the latest updates.

Examples of epics:

"Enhance Security Measures"

"Implement photo sharing in direct messages"

Within the product team, not every task undertaken yields a new feature for external users. This distinction prompts us to label such endeavors as epics rather than features.

Epics are characterized by their duration, spanning longer than a single sprint.

Conversely, tasks that can be accomplished within one sprint are user stories.

Diagram illustrating epics and initiatives

Epic Spec Sheets

Epic specification sheets are comprehensive documents outlining the requirements for product development.

Their primary objective is to ensure clarity and understanding across all departments within the company regarding the tasks at hand and what needs to be built.

Epic spec sheets have four main areas:

1. Introduction

Overview of features and functionalities

  • Summary of what the features we are building and why

  • What metrics we are trying to improve

  • Links to specific documentation

  • Marketing plans, legal requirements

  • Early wireframes

2. Product requirements

Feature and Functionalities in Details i.e. What is required for the specific features?

3. Design requirements

The product manager and the designer fill this section together - sketches, prototypes, etc.

4. Engineer requirements

For the engineers to fill this section post-discussion and it contains what must be done on the technology side.

Product managers are in charge of creating and maintaining the entire spec sheet, but mainly the first two areas.

Each company has a different way of doing spec sheets.

A cartoon picture depicting team discussing on user stories
Source: Created using AI

User stories

User stories are a way to describe a thing we're going to build that delivers some type of functionality to the end user

User stories follow this format:

"As an X, I want to do Y, so that I can Z"

This is a way to explain to the engineers what the feature needs to do without saying how to do it


"As a customer, I want to be able to filter products by price range so that I can find items within my budget"

User stories belong inside the project management tool, written as tickets that can be moved into the following categories

  • "To do"

  • "In progress"

  • "Done"

Acceptance criteria

Acceptance criteria are a set of conditions that the application must satisfy to be considered complete.

The purpose of acceptance criteria is to be very specific on how a feature should function.


User Story:

As a customer, I want to be able to filter products by price range so that I can find items within my budget.

Acceptance criteria:

  • On the product listing page, there should be a filter option for the price range.

  • Users should be able to set minimum and maximum price limits.

  • When the filter is applied, only products within the specified price range should be displayed.

User Story:

As a traveler, I want to receive notifications for flight delays so that I can adjust my plans accordingly.

Acceptance criteria:

  • User should have the option to enable flight delay notifications in their account settings.

  • When a flight associated with the user is delayed, a push notification should be sent to their mobile device.

  • The notification should include details about the flight and the estimated delay duration.

User Story:

As a student, I want to be able to bookmark important sections of a textbook so that I can quickly revisit them later.

Acceptance criteria:

  • While reading a textbook in the app, the user should have the option to bookmark specific pages or sections.

  • Bookmarks should be accessible from a dedicated menu.

  • Users should be able to remove bookmarks if they are no longer needed.

A product manager is responsible for testing the completed tickets and stories before approving them to be released to the public.

Velocity & Estimations

Across various companies, engineers adopt diverse approaches, languages, and methodologies in their development processes, leading to constant evolution. This diversity complicates software estimation significantly. So following an iterative approach makes sense.

Achieving accurate estimates hinges on understanding a crucial metric known as velocity.

Relative measurement is used as "Story Points" per task and based on how much is achieved, we get velocity.

Story points serve as a means to gauge the complexity of tasks through a universally comprehensible rating system within the company.

Velocity and Burndown chart

In general, Velocity, on the other hand, represents the number of story points completed within a two-week sprint.


We have 5 items in total. 3 were done but were very hard. We rate them 5 on a scale of 1-5. The velocity is 5 + 5 + 5 = 15

Doing these calculations increases the accuracy of the estimations in the long term.


Each company approaches road mapping uniquely. Although roadmaps typically lack precision, they serve as useful general guides.

Why do companies create roadmaps?

  • Executives and investors prefer quarterly-based roadmaps.

  • Roadmaps can help align efforts with actual deadlines.

Sample roadmap for reference
Source: Roadmunk

The alternative is to sort things depending on priorities

  • Near-term

  • Mid-term

  • Long term

This method keeps everyone in line but doesn't impose strict deadlines


In the realm of product management, prioritization constitutes a significant aspect of his / her responsibilities. In the current agile world, prioritization is done on the go.

Prioritization Methods

1. Assumption Testing

Prioritize by using risky assumptions first.

- Assumptions rating (1 - 10): 10 being riskiest

- Importance rating (1-10): 10 being Very Important

- Add the value and prioritize accordingly.

2. BUC Method

  • Business Benefits (1 to 10)

  • User Benefits (1 to 10)

  • Cost (1 to 10)

  • Score = B + U - C

3. MOSCOW Method

  • Must - things you have to build

  • Could

  • Should

  • Would

4. Value vs Complexity Quadrant

Value vs complexity matrix
Source: ProductPlan

5. Weighted Scoring

Product managers can foster more productive discussions about what to include on the product roadmap by employing a scoring method to rank strategic initiatives and major features.

6. Kano Model

Customer delight versus product function.

A diagram showing Kano Model
Source: ProductPlan

7. Story Mapping

story mapping board for reference
Source: NNGroup


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