A product requirements document is an asset used in the product development process to convey to the development and testing teams what capabilities must be included in a product release. This document is used in situations where product concept, design, and delivery occur sequentially, but it also is utilized in an agile scenario. PRD will include everything that must be included in a release to be deemed complete, and serve as a guide for future documents in the release process. While PRDs may suggest a possible implementation to demonstrate a use case, they do not have the authority to compel a particular implementation.
How to Write a Product Requirements Document
It is critical to create an effective PRD.
While you may be in charge of creating the paper, it should be a joint effort. You will collaborate with a variety of stakeholders during the development process. This ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding the product’s aims. It also assures that what you’re doing meets a consumer demand and can be finished on schedule.
Here are five stages to drafting an effective product release document for a successful product launch.
1. Define the Product’s Purpose
Everyone involved in product development must be on the same page when it comes to the product’s purpose. The characteristics must be driven by the purpose.
The goal should include:
- What issues is this product supposed to solve?
- Who is going to utilise the product?
- Why is it significant?
- Every stakeholder should agree on the goal – and be aware of it as the project advances.
2. Divide the Purpose Into Features
The next stage is to establish the release’s feature needs. Every feature should contribute to the overall goal of your product.
A good way to start when defining feature needs is to first determine themes and initiatives.
For years, the organisation has been aligned by a theme.
A theme might be any of the following:
- Themes may span many years and release cycles.
Initiatives are used to coordinate development activities around a common goal. Initiatives, on the other hand, guarantee that things are moving in the correct way. An initiative may include many topics, such as API, performance, and mobile functionality.
An initiative is then divided into feature needs.
3. Establish the Release Criteria Goals
Setting the correct release criteria objectives can help you accomplish the aim of the product release.
Your objectives should be as follows:
- Simple to grasp.
In addition, the release criteria should include five categories.
You must identify the minimal functionality required to deliver the product. Defining requirements that are crucial to the release is one example.
You must guarantee that the product is simple to use. Determine the scope of user testing — and what you’ll do with the data — is one example.
You’ll need to ensure that your product is dependable. As an example, ensure that it can recover from a system failure.
You’ll need to establish a performance baseline. As an example, consider how quickly your product must load.
You must assess whether or not the release can be supported. One example is ensuring that users can install and configure it.
4. Establish a Timeline
Every product release requires a target release date, even if it is just a tentative estimate.
This should provide you with the flexibility to adjust to a shift in priorities. However, it should prevent scope creep by restricting the number of features that stakeholders may add.
Managing the release process – and meeting the goal release date – may be challenging.
5. Ensure that all stakeholders get a chance to review it.
When you build a PRD, it is critical that important stakeholders examine it.
When you’re working with a requirements document in Microsoft Word, this might be difficult.
It is excellent practice to have a centralised system for managing requirements reviews online. You may then confirm that everyone is seeing the most current version of the document. You may also travel back in time and see how things have changed.
It is also critical that everyone participating in the product’s development be aware of what is on the PRD. It should be distributed to all stakeholders, from developers to testers to management.
What should be included in a PRD?
PRDs often comprise the following components:
Purpose – Who is it for and why are you constructing it?
Features –What you’re going to construct is referred to as its features.
Release Criteria — The release’s objectives (e.g., functionality).Timeline – A general estimate of when the product will be available.
What is the difference between a product requirements document (PRD) and a market requirements document (MRD)?
MRD, or Market Requirements Document, and PRD, or Product Requirements Document, are words that are often used interchangeably. However, each document is designed to fulfil a different and independent function.
The primary goal of an MRD is to clearly articulate:
A specific characterization of the target market
Profiles of buyers and users
Problem scenarios that demonstrate gaps or challenges that distinct personas are now facing
The format of a Market Requirements Document might vary. A Word document, specialist software, wikis, or even a spreadsheet are the most prevalent forms. The exact quantity of paperwork required is determined by the size and breadth of the targeted opportunity, as well as organisational expectations.
PRDs, on the other hand, are designed to give the amount of depth necessary for the development team to comprehend the capabilities, functionality, and features required to satisfy the market demands stated in the MRD. In other words, a solid PRD specifies the breadth and extent of the product capabilities in such a way that the development team understands not just what to create, but also how to do it.
While Agile adoption, especially Scrum, has transformed many product managers’ terminology to concentrate on epics and stories, uncertainty regarding what distinguishes an MRD from a PRD persists.
Each of these publications has a distinct function. They are, in reality, complementary, rather than being interchangeable.
Why you need a product requirements document
When done effectively, a product requirements document may provide Agile teams with numerous substantial benefits on a single page.
However, if your team is doubtful, here are just a few of the major reasons why they should use one:
1. A PRD fosters cross-team understanding.
Creating and launching a product requires a collaborative effort. However, if even one team (or colleague) is tugging in the wrong way, issues will arise. At best, you’ll suffer delays and communication problems; at worst, a lack of cohesiveness may wreck the whole project.
A PRD addresses the most important questions regarding your project in a clear and succinct manner.
By writing down all of those facts in a PRD, you have a reference that anybody on your team may refer to at any time. A one-pager has the added advantage of providing a succinct explanation that can be readily perused.
2. A PRD assists Agile teams in breaking out from ‘product tunnel vision.’
Technical teams have a nasty tendency of diving right into how they’ll develop goods and solve challenges.
This is very understandable. When you spend your days engaged in technical details, it’s tempting to believe that’s what your consumers are most concerned about. The actuality, however, is rather different. Rather than stressing about the technology to utilise or being on the cutting edge, a PRD pushes you to think about your product from the user’s point of view.
While a PRD is an effective tool for this, it is not the only one. In fact, Amazon incorporates this into their product discovery process.
Before any feature can be produced, the product manager must first ‘work backward,’ writing an internal press release announcing the final product. This allows them to retain their attention on the customer’s issue rather than on flashy new technology.
While you may not want to create a press release every time you start a new project, a PRD may achieve the same result by focusing on what the product needs to do from the user’s point of view.
3. In an Agile context, a PRD may assist you in gathering requirements.
Finally, and most clearly, a PRD assists Agile teams in bridging the gap between high-level product requirements and development-team implementation specifics.
In Agile, gathering requirements might be difficult and even counter-productive. A lean PRD, on the other hand, gives the best of both worlds rather than expending enormous amounts of time and effort on requirement collection.
What is a good product requirements document?
A good PRD contains –
The aims and objectives explain the product you want to produce in detail. It explains to the development team why they are creating their product by accurately explaining its goal, features, and functions.
The main thing is to avoid producing an endless list of objectives and features; thinking big is excellent, but it’s crucial to reduce it to the minimal viable product (MVP). An MVP is a product with the fewest features that nonetheless meets the demands of the user and provides the best user experience.
You must resolve the conundrum of must-have vs. nice-to-have items. Stick to the essentials.
Ask yourself the following questions while you write this section:
- What is the product’s purpose?
- What issues will it address?
- How will it help to enhance the present process or ease the start of a new one?
- What is the vision of the product?
Target Users/User Personas
This section will assist you in creating fictional persons that correspond to your target consumers. It will assist you in determining who your user is. Creating personas or selecting a target audience will help you understand what your product can accomplish for them, when they can use it, and how they can acquire it.
The user personas you design don’t have to be highly thorough, but they should be detailed enough to help you to understand how people see the product. Create these personas using Google Analytics. Analytics gives valuable information such as your users’ demographics, where they come from, the keywords they’ve used, and the online behaviours they exhibit.
A good user persona should always be in sync with the product’s distribution strategy, which the sales and marketing teams may easily access.
This part should concentrate on the primary functions that your users may do with the merchandise. User stories are brief explanations of features told through the eyes of your user personas. User stories are helpful since they give hints that may be used to define your final needs. These tales aid in the development of the architecture of your content and design.
Follow these techniques to advance your product without being overwhelmed by too many story and feature ideas.
- Use only high-level and absolutely required storylines, sometimes known as epics, that can be broken down into smaller portions afterwards.
- Keep your narratives brief and to the point.
- They should explain why your consumer need what they require.
- Keep in mind that they must be user-centered.
How can a PRD help a product development team?
A product requirements document has the greatest impact on product development teams. They will be referring to the document the most and will need to know it like the back of their hand to guarantee they are working cooperatively and effectively.
The PRD will play a lower role in the overall product strategy, vision, and roadmap. Outside of people, it is one of the most important resources for successful product management.
It does not, however, end with the development team. Marketing, Sales, Business Development, Support, and other departments will need to refer to the template to properly comprehend what is to come and the schedule. If all teams are on board with the document, they will prepare better within their respective areas so that they can support the new product as best they can when it is ready.
How should a Product Manager use a PRD?
Product managers write PRDs to describe what they are doing, who it is for, and how it helps the end user. It expresses the worth and usefulness of a product or feature. PRD should be approached from the top down, beginning with the overarching vision of what you want to achieve. It should then connect product objectives and efforts to the features needed to realise that vision. A well-defined PRD also provides information about how the end user will interact with the feature and how it will appear.