A Product Requirement Document can be referred to as a brief summary of the requirements of a product. It is required to keep all operation teams aligned to one target. Often, product development is initiated by crafting the PRD to describe the functionalities of a product before development. A PRD is useful when it is updated and clear to all people inclined toward the project. Moreover, the concept is broad enough, therefore, there's no need to learn squeezed information. Let's dive into the details.
What is a Product Requirement Document?
Often abbreviated as ‘PRD’, a Product Requirement document carries a brief description of the requirements for the product. This document is prepared by the product manager or business owner during product planning. Moreover, PRD is one of the first steps in product development. It is prepared alongside other necessary agile documentation.
Since developing any product necessitates thorough planning, research, operations, and other crucial steps, the Product Requirement Document is documented, which works as a map for all people to understand the status and aim of the product. These include the technical teams as well such as developers, designers, product engineers, and stakeholders.
The document is never completely finished, and it changes as the teams function collectively over time. Furthermore, the document is prepared and distributed to operation teams to give them a complete detailed outline of the product, so they perform operations as per the requirements.
This outline comprises a set of different sections. The set of sections usually depends on the type of product. However, there are several sections that are always present in any product requirement document. Below we will discuss what is included in PRD and what is its importance.
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What Should Be in a PRD Document?Since the product requirement document is all about the plans related to the product. The sections like purpose, features, release goals, and functionalities, are a must. Let’s discuss each one of them.
1. Purpose of the ProductThis is the most crucial section of any Product Requirement document. Here, all the objectives of the product are documented. This section comprises the gap the product will fill in the market for any targeted aspect. It can be anything, including the problem it solves, the process it enhances, or any solution to desired aspects. This section helps the teams to know the end target for which they are doing operations. Similarly, the purpose section of PRD helps investors to determine the value of the project.
2. Features of the ProductAs the name suggests, this section is used to depict the features and functionalities of the product launch. Moreover, this section gives inside-out information on the product's requirements to the entire team involved in building the product.
3. TimelinesThis section can be referred to as the roadmap of the product. Timelines to all tasks are listed here. This section divides the goal into small sections. E.g. Further, a deadline is decided for the different operations.
4. Release goalsThis is another critical section. Here, the specifics related to the release are documented. It comprises the date it is going to be released, the features at the time of release, and the milestones that the product is set to achieve. Sometimes, an outline of initial follow-up plans is also written in this section. Moreover, The functionality, reliability, performance, and usability of the product are essential aspects that should be covered in this section.
5. What not to doThis section is not present in all PRDs; however, this is helpful in determining the operations based on the priorities. It determines plans and operations which don’t need to be done urgently. E.g., any marketing plans or features that will get added post-launch, etc. Here, the team gets a clear direction of operations they have to do on priority by listing the aspects that shouldn't be focused on.
6. Other sectionsAs stated earlier, different products or organizations can have different sections. Stakeholder identification, assumptions, dependencies, user stories, customer reviews, and performance metrics are some examples of other sections that can be included in a Product Requirements Document (PRD).
What is the Importance of PRD?The product Requirement Document is used to trace the entire product development process. A good and updated PRD develops the product with an efficient strategy after analyzing requirements. This makes the job of business owners and product managers easy with a clear outlook. In turn, they can focus on what is important and increase their productivity.
The document is primarily kept in a system or software (E.g., Google Docs) where all teams and stakeholders can access the document. This improves the target focus across the board and ensures the development is going in the right way. Also, it is kept in such software where any change made in PRD is instantly notified to people who have access to it. In turn, the development process gets boasted, and the risk of miss-happenings decreases.
What are Good PRD and Bad PRD?Even after having a deep understanding of PRD, there are chances of it getting rejected by business owners or stakeholders. This occurs indeed due to inappropriate PRD preparation. A PRD should be short and brief, yet it should convey the fundamental aspects of the product. However, PRD should not show how the operations, purposes, and features are going to be completed or achieved.
It should only comprise brief information on what needs to be done or features of the product. A PRD should always be clear and to the point. It should be easily interpretable for all groups of product development. Moreover, reviews can be collected from stakeholders and teams. Further, edits can be made as per mutual decisions.
5 Steps to Writing an Excellent Product Requirement DocumentFrom the above, we evaluated that a Product Requirement Document should be short and clear and depict what needs to be done and not how it needs to be done. Moreover, PRD is necessary for developing any product. A five-step method will assist you in writing a solid PRD.
- Step 1: The development of any PRD necessitates research and planning. By this, any incorrect information can lead to errors in PRD and then ultimately result in a defective product. Hence, checking the authority and credibility of the source while researching it can minimize the risk of errors in PRD.
- Step 2: In step two of PRD, define the purpose of the product clearly, and try to be as straightforward as possible. If the project has multiple purposes, pointers would be a great idea. The purpose should be crystal clear and not confusing.
- Step 3: Make and fill other sections of PRD and set the timelines for each operation to manage the pace of the project and indicate what needs to be done on priority.
- Step 4: After preparing the entire PRD, all unnecessary information should be removed. A check of the document should be carried out to justify whether the document is up-to-date or not. Also, the document should be discussed with the business or product owner, and any edits should be made collectively, if necessary.
- Step 5: Lastly, a review from stakeholders is essential. They can reject the entire PRD or demand edits if the document is inappropriate by any means. After taking the review, edits should be amended after discussions. Lastly, PRD should be placed in PR systems to start the development of the product.
ConclusionFrom all the above, we discussed what a Product Requirement Document (PRD) is and how one can write a good PRD. In a nutshell, PRD is the agile requirements document written to give an overview of the requirements of the product. It is prepared to keep the operations team updated on the way the product needs to be developed.
Moreover, PRD helps business owners to trace product development and act as and when needed. Lastly, we went through the five-step process of creating a good PRD. Firstly, all sources from which the PRD is written should be reliable. Then, the purpose and other sections should be described clearly. Further, editing rounds should be carried out after discussing with stakeholders and business owners. Lastly, PRD should be established and shared with all teams.