Product Management One-Pagers

Once I’ve determined what problems to tackle in the near term, I find it useful to create a “one-pager” to synthesize my thoughts around a problem/project. This is after the point where discovery research has been done, and I’ve talked with the team (including tech leads, designers, and another product manager) about the idea. 

I’ve listed the sections I found most useful to include, both for myself to confirm it’s a project worth tackling, as well as for the designer to read before they start designing. (Keep in mind, I’m only a few months into being a product manager! But this is what I’ve done so far)

For me, these are to help guide the team as they begin thinking through details; it’s not meant as a functional requirements document, nor should it be overly prescriptive. 

Several resources are included at the end of this article; I highly encourage you to check out John Cutler’s article and/or video for some great insights and frameworks around this idea.

One-Pager Sections

  • Hypothesis
    • If you only do one part, do this one! 
    • I like the format: “We believe that enabling [type of customer] to do [x] will [result]. We will know we are successful when [metric change].”
    • Let’s pretend someone had written a statement like this for Amazon’s single sign on idea: “We believe that enabling signed-in customers with saved credit cards to be able to purchase items with one click will increase conversion and reduce time to purchase. We will know we have succeeded when we see an x% increase in conversion (current rate: y%) and a z% reduction in time to purchase (from current time: abc).”
    • I also use hypotheses when doing prioritization, before the one-pager. I find it a useful tool to determine if ideas might actually have an impact that matters. “Cool” ideas, even ones customers ask for, may not always move the needle, and it’s easier for me to see this when I write up a statement like this
  • Target audience
    • Who are you targeting for this feature?
    • It might be customers who use a certain feature, or who have a certain type of characteristic. Or perhaps it’s your premium customers only whom you are targeting
  • Audience insights
    • These can be pulled from a variety of sources, including:
      • Usage data 
      • Customer service feedback
      • Survey data
      • Other audience research 
    • I like including short quotes to help illustrate the issue we’re solving, if possible
  • Competitive insights
    • Knowing whether your customers have this feature can be useful, but it can also be useful to look at competitor customer forums and see if people are requesting this feature and what they’re saying about it
  • Out of scope
    • A good product manager keeps scope down on initial release to the minimum necessary. Thus, there’s often ideas that people want to include but aren’t going to go with the first release. Capturing them here reduces questions from the team, and also shows the team that you have kept the ideas, even if they’re not going to be used now
  • Rationale
    • Typically it’s pretty clear by this point what the reason is, but sometimes I still find it helpful to explain this, especially if the ties from this idea to company goals/OKRs isn’t clear at a glance
  • Notes
    • For whatever is needed! Maybe some research has already been done, and you want to link to that document. Maybe you want to put in some related content the copywriter should look at, etc.

Additional resources:

One thought on “Product Management One-Pagers

  1. Matthew Martin says:

    This is really great, probably because it matches something I do 😉

    I also include Guiding Principles, but I am coming from the product design side.

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