How to align management, design and development teams using a creative strategy brief template

April 06, 2021 • 3 min read

Creative team in a meeting

TL;DR: Save time and discussions by creating a creative strategy brief. Share it and present it on every meeting so teams can align on goals, users, scenarios and constraints. Framework based on Jared Spool’s UIE post. Free and editable template in My resources page.


Meetings are a pain. They usually waste time on the lack of an agenda and unexpected outcomes. And that’s because teams are not aligned. But you can lead the product development, design reviews or stakeholders presentations by using a creative strategy brief document.

Follow the next step-by-step guide in a shared document with your teams, or duplicate my free template.

Goals

List the business goals or product goals as shared by management. Or at least call the team and answer:

  • Why are we building this product?
  • What metrics do we expect to accomplish?
  • What’s the challenge to overcome?

Give format to those answers by using SMART goals. Here’s a notion template by @pdct.tips

Users

Describe the target audience for your product. If you don’t have a research team, try interviewing stakeholders to answer:

  • Who are the people that normally use the product?
  • Are they field experts? Or newbies? Recurrent or rare visitors?
  • Why do they buy the product or service?
  • Which other ways do they find to satisfy their needs?

Maybe stakeholders won’t have all the answers, but they can refer you to the Support or Analytics teams. They will find creative ways to get you those answers.

Of course you can build Personas for this step, but that’s an entire project. In case you want, here’s a case study about how I introduced Personas in a big corporation’s environment.

Scenarios

Describe where will the product or service be used by the user. And elaborate more on the How they use it. It helps to end up discussions on meaningless features or unproductive perfectionism.

If you want to create more formal User Scenarios, you can read the Usability.gov method’s guide.

Constraints

Detail the project’s technical limitations on:

  • The technology
  • Design principles
  • Time schedule
  • Project’s budget and
  • Member’s ownership.

Those are consideration to deliver the desired experience within the terms of the teams’ processes.


Shorter version, no time? Ok, then identify the Jobs To Be Done

JTBD are short sentences about the problems your product solves.

“The process of reaching an objective under given circumstances”.The JTBD Playbook by Jim Kalbach

Remember, people don’t buy subscriptions or objects. They buy a solution for a problem or desire. So clarify what are the Jobs-to-be-done and shrink all the previous points to make teams focus on the most important outcomes.

You can find a more detailed guide for writing those in Jim’s Blog.


All these points may sound a very complex task that could take weeks to complete. And it normally is. But the crucial point here is producing alignment. So download the gDocs template from my free resources page, fill as possible the fields, and set a meeting with teams involved to complete the document.

Even if simple, it may be a time-saver because it produces a shared document where every team is listened and committed to a specific outcome, instead of scheduling sync meetings to discuss personal beliefs and tastes.


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