Introducing epic documents

In this article

You'll learn how Delibr supports solution refinement through epic documents

This article begins with a 15-minute video that introduces epic documents and shows how they can be used for refining solutions. We really recommend watching the video, but if you rather read there's a help center article below as well. 

Understanding which customer problems are worth solving is only half the job. You also need to come up with, refine, and deliver solutions that solve those problems. 

In Delibr product teams create a document for each of their solution ideas. We call these documents "Epic documents" because the solution that is being refined in them typically translates to an epic in Jira (but it does not have to!). And because the documents are, in many ways, epic. Pun intended. 

A single source of truth

Forget about managing multiple spreadsheets, google documents, design files, and Jira tickets all relating to the same feature. The epic document in Delibr becomes the single source of truth for the solution that you are working on. Here you can capture all the relevant details on the same page including designs, flowcharts, user stories, todos, rollout plans, key decisions, and so on.

The epic document can also be used for project management purposes, including planning, capturing, and following up on Todos.

Start lean, and get your thoughts down quickly

There's a template called "Epic document" (found under the refinement category), which we recommend using. This template allows Product Managers to start lean when they begin refinement, by providing four top-level headings: Problem, Solution, User stories, and Rollout. For each top-level heading, you will also find suggested sub-topics that can be added as you go along. 

The "Epic template" that you find in Delibr

We recommend beginning by crisply defining what the problem is and articulating the general idea for the solution. This becomes the starting point for the epic document. 

As the solution is further refined, you start by pulling together the thinking done thus far across strategy, feedback, and discovery by adding relevant details from different sources. Examples of details include emails, quotes from user interviews, data that substantiate the problem, references to the relevant OKR, design sketches, flowcharts, and more. 

Since Delibr is a bullet outliner all these details can be simply added to the document and later on moved into the relevant sections using drag-drop or keyboard shortcuts. 

Involve stakeholders and get feedback 

As you go progressively deeper into refining the feature it makes sense to invite relevant stakeholders to figure out more details. Here you can use e.g. user story mapping to figure out which user stories to include, as well as identify important decision points. There are features accessible from the epic document that allow you to create user story maps and capture questions and decisions within the context of the document. 

Epic document showing a question bullet + user story map

Problem solving and communication go hand in hand, and so if you have done the structured thinking in previous steps you are now in a position where you are able to communicate your thinking around this solution in an effective top-down manner, which is appreciated by both team and stakeholders. If you have articulated explicit questions, it will be easier to facilitate the myriad of micro-decisions that need to be made during refinement.

Invite relevant stakeholders and decide what access rights they should have (choose between full access or comment-only). 

Beyond how to develop the feature itself, it is also important to think about what the rollout plan is in terms of what it means e.g. marketing, support, and compliance. When figuring this out, it is often most effective to bring in the relevant and affected teams.

An unparalleled Jira integration

The end of refinement is agreeing on what to build. This is typically articulated as a set of user stories, tasks, and/or sub-tasks. These can be outlined in the epic document and sent to Jira directly. Simply select bullet points from your document and send them to Jira one by one, or in bulk. 

Install our Atlassian Marketplace plugin for Jira and enjoy seamless syncing between your epic document and the Jira tickets you create.

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