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Develop With a Document Explicit Product Requirements

A product requirements document describes the goal, value and benefits of a product. Learn what all belongs in your template and how to design it so that it is easy to understand and efficient at the same time.

What Is a Product Requirements Document?

A product requirements document (PRD) communicates what the product is, who it is intended for, and what the user will get from it. It is typically written by the product manager. It must not be confused with the market requirements document (MRD). An MRD must be made before the PRD.

You will need the market requirements document to find out what the customer needs before you come up with a PRD.

Your PRD must start with a statement about what you want to accomplish or your overall vision. The product requirements document must show that your product has features that will achieve that goal. It must also outline the product’s physical attributes and how people can use the functionality of your product.

Creating a valuable product takes a lot of research and planning. And a PRD is the first step product managers take when trying to come up with a product they can be proud of. The PRD would then be shared with stakeholders so that you can ask for their input. These are the people who will help you in creating, launching, and marketing your product.

Once all stakeholders have approved, you must use the PRD as your guide. It can give you a clear idea of where your product creation is heading. It will also be a powerful tool for establishing trust and understanding within the whole team.

This article covers the following topics:

1. What should a product requirements document contain?

2. What makes a good product requirements document?

3. A digital solution for your product requirements document

Team discusses product requirements

What should a product requirements document contain?

A product requirements document template is a great tool for letting people understand how the features of your product can solve the customer’s problems. The key features of a PRD are:

  • Objective
  • Release
  • Features
  • User flow and design
  • Analytics
  • Future work

How do you do the requirements gathering process in the current world? It is a tricky endeavor. But with a comprehensive requirement gathering template, you can be successful at this task. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • When you conduct customer interviews, bring with you a member of the design and development team. They should hear it directly from a customer rather than through your notes. It will also give them the chance to ask questions that can help them do their job better.
  • Develop customer personas with the help of your team. Consider your team member’s insights as they can provide ideas and perspectives different from yours. Plus, being part of the persona development makes it easier for them to understand their customers better.
  • Make sure you also involve the entire team in issue triaging and backlog refinement. Triaging means your team will sort through all the issues and organize them based on priority. Backlog refinement is reviewing items on the backlog to ensure the list includes appropriate items, that the issues are prioritized, and that the priority items are ready for delivery. These two processes ensure that everyone in the team is on the same page and that they understand why you are prioritizing one issue over another.

Group of people discussing about a product requirements

What makes a good product requirements document?

When creating a product requirements document, it’s important to use a consistent template across the team. This makes giving feedback easier and more effective. It also ensures that every team member can follow along.

Here are the factors that make a good product requirements document:

1. Project Specifics

Include the following at the top of your PRD:

  • The participants in writing the PRD, including the product owner, stakeholders, and the team members
  • The current status of the program. Are you on target? Are you at risk, delayed, or deferred?
  • The target date of release

2. Team Goals and Business Objectives

The objective section must explain the customer pain points you aim to solve. It must also describe how it is relevant to your business’s overall vision and goals. This can help your team focus on creating product features that are truly helpful and delightful to your customers. These are the basics to creating a Minimum Lovable Product (MLP), a product that customers love from the start rather than merely tolerate.

3. Background and Strategic Fit

This section must describe how the product adds strategic value to your company. How does the product align with the overall company strategy? Or how does a specific feature of the product contribute to the company’s long-term vision? This is an important part because being able to provide a convincing answer to this question will make it easy for you to convince the top management to provide the resources you need throughout the product development process.

4. Assumptions

It is important to document your assumptions comprehensively. The more assumptions you have, the higher the possibility you get something wrong. Assumptions are what you think the user’s opinion will be about the product and how they will interact with it and behave as they use it. Market research and customer interviews are two of the most helpful tools that can help you verify your assumptions. Use them to minimize the risk of making huge errors in product design and problem definition. Verify all assumptions before moving on to product development.

5. Components

In this section, you will describe your solutions to the customer pain points you found during customer interviews. Explain how all the components that make up your product work together to solve the customer’s problem. You must provide a thorough description of all the product features.

6. Flows

In this section of the product requirements document, you will explain how the parts will work together so that the product can do what it aims to do. Include as many details as you can. The flow section is best shown using a combination of flow charts and verbal descriptions. The flow chart serves as a visual representation, while the verbal descriptions will help resolve any ambiguity from the flow chart. Wireframes and prototype designs can also be used in this section, especially if your product will have a user interface.

7. Minimum Viable Product

In this section, you will state why you are developing the product. You will describe the success criteria or the benchmark for determining whether or not the product is successful. You will also need to map out the user’s journey or what the users must do to meet that end goal. A prioritization matrix and a pain and gain map can be used to show what features to prioritize so that the product can provide maximum gains to the user and the least possible pains.

8. Analytics

Enumerate everything that you want to evaluate in your product. After that, take some time to decide which metrics are valuable. You don’t need to waste time and effort measuring aspects that do not give you the necessary insights for product development and iteration.

9. Questions

The questions section is where readers of the PRD document can add their questions regarding the product. The questions may be anything that concerns the product or your assumptions section. This is an important section because questions can give you fresh ideas about your product or point your attention to something you may have overlooked.

A digital solution for your product requirements document

With a digital checklist for product requirements, you can easily carry out checks via tablet or smartphone – online or offline. A digital checklist guides you step by step through the PRD document without omitting important criteria.

With the desktop version, you can create templates that match your criteria and then evaluate the collected data. Clean and transparent documentation saves you a lot of time. In addition, you benefit from further advantages when evaluating products with Lumiform:

  • The flexible form builder from Lumiform helps you to convert any individual paper list into a digital checklist without much effort.
  • All results, images and comments are automatially bundled in a digital report.
  • Comprehensive analyses help you to identify inefficient areas in your company more quickly and thus to continuously improve your auditing and inspection processes.

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Two colleagues discuss product requirements based on a document
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