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How Differential uses Whimsical to craft the ultimate product pitch

Drew Barontini
Chief Product Officer, Differential

Story summary

3 min read

Differential is a ~50-person product development company based in Ohio specializing in digital products. They partner with companies like Lexmark to deliver product strategy, design, and product development. In 2022, Differential launched EASE, a data-integration platform designed to provide airport partners with real-time operational responses.

Meet Drew Barontini, Chief Product Officer at Differential

Drew Barontini has over 15 years of experience in design and product development. As Chief Product Officer at Differential, he oversees five product teams, spanning focus areas across Differential’s product agency division and its data integration platform, EASE. Product teams at Differential will draft an impressive 24 pitches at once. Previously, Differential used Google Docs to craft pitches, but this process was cumbersome, requiring stakeholders to jump between apps and reference multiple files, making the pitch documents hard to follow and review. A long-time Whimsical user, Barontini advocated for teams at Differential to adopt Whimsical as a solution to connect text and visual documentation seamlessly. Today, product teams at Differential draft their pitches solely in Whimsical.

Tackling the product pitch: combining text and visuals

A product pitch is a complex document. Similar to a PRD, it requires multiple inputs like user flows, feature scopes, and no-goes, but it has to be clear and concise to secure buy-in.

When drafting a product pitch in a tool like Google Docs, there are roughly two options for combining text and visual documentation:

1. Write the pitch copy in the doc and link to external visual files like user flows and wireframes

2. Write the pitch copy in the doc and insert screenshots of visual assets

Neither of the above are ideal. Option 1 requires any stakeholder reviewing the doc to have access to multiple tools and jump between different browser tabs. Option 2 doesn’t account for changes made to visual assets during the pitch process, which puts the document at risk of becoming outdated. In both cases, the end document can hinder buy-in and alignment, especially when working with clients.

Why Differential chose Whimsical

With Whimsical, Differential can embed visual boards within a doc to weave critical context like user flows, low-fidelity wireframes, and sketches throughout a pitch. And, when changes are made to the original board file, those changes are instantly reflected in the embeds.

When we write pitches for new features, we'll usually start by creating a flowchart or a user flow. Then we can embed those within a pitch doc, which is a huge benefit. You don’t have the same ability to combine different files at that level with other tools. For example, with Google Docs, the most you can really do is drop an image into the doc.

Drew Barontini Chief Product Officer

Differential also found that Whimsical offered a more focused writing experience. Whimsical’s formatting constraints reduce the time product managers spend fussing over formatting or setting up files, making it easier to create a polished document that’s ready to share in less time.

“It’s the best solution we’ve found for documentation so far, mainly because it’s so friction-less,” explains Barontini. “It makes it easy to get product teams to write the documentation they need. In just a click, you’re instantly in a doc writing. It’s fast and easy, instead of needing to click through a whole UI just to build a document.”

Differential chooses Whimsical because it provides an ideal writing experience and allows teams to craft the ultimate product pitch—a clear, concise document that gives every stakeholder all the necessary up-to-date context without ever needing to leave the file.

Differential’s favorite hub for documentation

Today, Differential drafts every product pitch in Whimsical. They follow the “Shape Up” method, which means Differential’s 5 product teams will draft over 24 product pitches in any given cycle. To streamline this process and make it more repeatable for his teams, Barontini has created a series of easy-to-follow product pitch templates in Whimsical.

Check out the template below to learn how product teams at Differential craft the ultimate product pitch.

Start using this product pitch template in Whimsical.

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