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The 5D Canvas

Today’s complexity of launching a product in the marketplace and delivering value to your customers cannot be managed as a linear set of phases, with little space to incorporate customer focus and adjust the plan along the way. It needs an iterative and adaptive development process like the one supported by the 5D Canvas.

The 5D Canvas

There are many tools and methodologies product managers and their teams can use at each phase in product development. The 5D Canvas provides an at-a-glance view of the 5 Dimensions and the tools and methodologies to employ for each. It also provides space for you to plan what activities and methodologies to employ for each Dimension in your product development journey.

5Ds Of Product Management

The  canvas also has a space in the back to jot down your action plan and describe how you are going to bring your product to life.

To use the worksheet, identify the following for each Dimension:

Needs: These are activities, data points, and artifacts that you need to do, collect or create. For example: “Understand who my target customers are” in Deliver, “Implement a regression testing platform” in Develop, “training manual” and “customer support” in Deploy. Mapping these out early in the process and across all 5 Dimensions helps to bring clarity on what you need to do.

Challenges: What obstacles or difficulties do you expect to have to satisfy the needs listed before? Having clarity on your challenges helps in finding ways to plan solutions and choose the right tools to solve them. For example, if you don’t have clarity on who your target customers are or how to market to them, you may identify that as a challenge and list it under Discover (research potential customers), Design (understand who they are) or Deliver (measure results delivered).

Tools: Based on the challenges identified before, what tools and activities can you use and do to solve them? You can refer to the other side of the 5D Canvas, “The 5 Dimensions of Product Managements”, for a list of suggested tools and activities for each Dimension. “Empathy Interviews” to learn about your customer needs, “User Personas” to define who your target customer is, or “Attend a training class” to learn more about Agile and Scrum.

As you proceed through your product development process, you may revisit the 5D Canvas and update it with new learnings, add new challenges, and delete those you have already solved. In this sense, the 5D Canvas is a living document that accompanies you through your product journey. It provides a high-level map of how you plan to bring your product to life.

If you plan on developing your product in multiple releases, for example starting with an MVP and then following up with Version 2.0, etc., you can repeat the 5D Canvas using a different sheet for each release.


Interested in learning any of these techniques and frameworks? We have written a book and we regularly teach training classes in Product Management.


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