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How To Write A Product Requirements Document?

Project managers need to follow an organized route from start to finish to ensure a successful product release. Product development and release should be well-documented, from considering the stakeholders’ needs to analyzing the target audience. Especially in the world of software development, a product requirements document (PRD) plays an important role in building your product.

So, what is a product requirements document?

What Is A Product Requirements Document?

As the name suggests, a product requirements document is a document outlining the specific requirements your team members should fulfill while building and releasing your product. It enlists the route you should take and the processes you should follow to inform people about the project’s execution.

A product requirements document is extremely important for a project manager. It helps them communicate with the stakeholders and inform them how they will execute the project. It also ensures that the end-users receive the product on time and hassle-free.

Typically, a PRD involves the following four elements:

  • Purpose  — This informs readers about why you are building your product and for whom you are building it.
  • Features  — This element enlists all the features you want to offer by building your product.
  • Release Criteria  — Here, the strategies to be followed and the goals to be accomplished during the product’s release are mentioned.
  • Timeline  — This informs the readers about the estimated time in which your product will be developed and released.

Product Requirements Document For Agile

Typically, the Agile methodology does not involve fixed beginnings and ends. However, Agile can benefit from PRDs as well. Instead of enlisting traditional requirements, Agile PRDs involve creating user stories. These documents include relevant user stories important for releasing your product.

However, these PRDs contain the same elements as a conventional PRD — purpose, features, release criteria, and timeline. The only difference is that Agile project managers create PRDs in task boards instead of static documents.

A product requirements document need not follow a strict format and should not be too long. As long as your PRD covers details important for your product release, you are good to go.

How To Write A Product Requirements Document?

While there are no standard rules for writing a product requirements document, it is important to do it the right way. It should be a collaborative effort involving multiple stakeholders whose contribution is important throughout the execution of your project. This helps you keep everyone on the same page regarding product development and release goals.

Here are the important steps involved in writing a product requirements document:

1. Defining Your Product Purpose

Start by defining the purpose of your product. This justifies the need to develop the product you want to build and the benefits it would offer. Before you start the execution, it is important for everyone to be in sync with the purpose of product development.

When you define your product purpose, enlist the problems your product will resolve. Every product is designed after analyzing the issues faced by the end-users, and your stakeholders should know the issues your product addresses.

This is also the stage where you include your product’s end-users in the document. Clearly define the audience you are targeting and how it will benefit them. Moreover, your PRD should inform the readers why your product is important. This communicates the key purpose(s) for building and releasing your product.

2. Enlisting Features Based On The Purpose

Once you have clearly defined your product’s purpose, you can break it down into different features. The feature requirements for your product’s release should support its purpose.

The best way to break down your purpose into features is by defining the themes and initiatives. A theme is a central idea dictating your product’s development and release. It ensures consistency throughout your project and ensures homogeneity across the board. It is important to define your themes precisely, as they will stay with your organization for a fairly long time.

On the other hand, your initiatives align your development efforts to achieve your themes. The initiatives taken by a project manager and their team help them build and release their product. Moreover, defining your initiatives ensures that the team is going in the right direction.

3. Setting Release Criteria Goals

After breaking down your purpose into features, you can set your release criteria goals. This helps you achieve your product’s purpose via seamless execution.

As you identify and enlist your goals in the product requirements document, always ensure that they are achievable, actionable, measurable, and easily understandable.

Ideal release criteria should cover the following important areas:

  • Functionality  — Your release criteria should contain the minimum functionality your team needs to release your product. You can do so by defining the requirements your product release cannot do without.
  • Usability  — It is important to ensure that your product is easy to use.
  • Reliability  — Always ensure that your product is reliable to win the trust of the end-users.
  • Performance  — Set a baseline for your product’s performance, such as determining the minimum page loading speed.
  • Supportability  — It is important to ensure that your product release is supported well for the end-users to use it.

4. Building A Project Timeline

Once you have your release criteria goals, you can build a project timeline. It is always important to have an end date for your project, even if it is an estimate. Adding a timeline to your PRD informs the readers roughly how long it will take for your team to build and release your product.

5. Getting The PRD Reviewed

After your project timeline is in place, get your stakeholders to review your product requirements document. Take their feedback seriously and make necessary changes before you start building your product.

Connect With Your Team Without Silos With ONES Wiki

Writing product requirements documents is a collaborative process requiring multiple stakeholders’ input. ONES Wiki allows you to create user-friendly content all your team members can access hassle-free. It eliminates unnecessary confusion and data silos, ensuring everyone is on the same page.

Originally published at on December 27, 2022.

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