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Team Managers and Product Descriptions

By Frank Turley

It is good to see the Project Manager like a facilitator. They will invite users (The Senior users will nominate users to join) and they will also invite people who have experience creating these products. The Team Manager is both a technical person and leader of the team, so they have lots of domain knowledge (often referred to as Subject Matter Experts – SMEs).

The Project Manager (PM) will invite the necessary people to a workshop and facilitate this. The PM will begin with asking the user what they would like and then discuss one product at a time. The objective is to get an overview of each product (Product Based Planning) and then get into further detail. The Team Managers (and invited team members) should be asking questions for extra information and giving feedback on the what is possible and not possible or what can be developed in a short amount of time. The Team Manager has the experience in creating products like this, so the users can quickly learn what is possible from them.

The Product Manager may then ask a question like the following: How can the team know that they have provided the product as you require and this is where they discuss quality criteria. e.g.

  • Result of search in < 2 seconds,
  • Intuitive user interface – no need for training,
  • Export reports to Excel and keep format of columns, etc…

Who is the best person to document the Product Descriptions?

  • The PM is rather busy and may not have domain knowledge,
  • The users are not used to writing Product Descriptions, so we can’t expect them to do it.
  • The Team Managers have the knowledge and experience and this is why they do this (or ask team members to do this)
  • The Project Manager will assist but don’t expect to much as they have normally lots of admin to do.

Where are Business Analysts in all of this?

  • PRINCE2® does not mention this role but most organisations/teams will have them
  • They will be a team member or maybe even the Team Manager


The answer to the question: Does the Team Manager help the PM create Product Descriptions? Yes the Team Manager will be a big help to the Project Manager when investigating and writing Product Descriptions. If the project does continue, then the Project Manager will more confident about assigning these products to the same team as who created the Product Descriptions.