What is a product requirements document?
A product requirements document, also known as a PRD, concisely outlines key information about a new product or feature. A PRD is a dynamic tool that acts as a roadmap throughout the product development process, most often established by the product manager and used by designers, stakeholders, and the whole development team. 🙌
Some see product requirements documents as outdated in the ever-changing modern development world. This isn't the case! Well done PRDs aren't long and inefficient, they're comprehensive and concise. Even agile development teams, who favour user stories over more traditional development requirements, find themselves benefitting from user-focused PRDs.
Pro Tip: Really want to keep it short and sweet? Limit your PRD to one page.
By now you might be wondering what a product requirements document typically consists of. They generally include:
- The new product's purpose or general objective. 💪 All key team members and stakeholders should be involved in this phase. Don't overcomplicate your life and focus on questions like: "Why would someone want to buy this product?" "Who would buy this product?" and "What problem will this product solve?"
- Product features. This section is key as it informs the product development team of exactly what needs to be built. All product features should also link back to the product purposes and objectives.
- Release criteria. This includes key information like release date(s), tentative timeframes, milestones, and dependencies as well as product benchmarks like supportability, functionality, and reliability.
- User flow & design. This is a visual section that shows how the finished new feature or product will look and how the end user will interact with it. It normally includes mockups and wireframes. 👀
- Final insights, analytics, and planned future work.
What can a product requirements document do for me?
Putting together a good product requirements document is well worth the effort because they...
- Keep the product team on the same page. When it comes to the development world, it's all too easy for team members to develop wildly different ideas about a product during the development process. PRDs make sure that essential product requirements are well-documented, which should be music to any project manager's ears. 🎶
- Allow team members to single out what works and what doesn't. Great products aren't made in a day, after all. No matter how many times you have to rework your PRD, it'll still give your team a useful starting point to edit from.
- Help you establish your vision. PRDs' top-down waterfall approach encourages you and your team to establish a detailed vision for your product right off the bat. This will help with the entire development process.
Slite's free product requirements document template
Here at Slite, we want to make the process of putting together a product requirements document easy for you. Trust us, it does't have to be as complicated as it sounds.
Our product requirements document template will act as your product roadmap... all you have to do is brainstorm and fill in your next great product's details. Our template allows your product development team to work collaboratively, making each step of the way a breeze, no matter how many times you have to revise it. 😉
Oh... and did we mention that it's free?
How can I get started?
Ready to go? Begin customizing your PRD template by:
💻 Researching... Then Researching Some More
Before you even start putting together your PRD, find out everything possible about the specific product or feature you'll be working on. You can do this by meeting with various team members or with your client directly. The more you know, the easier this process will be.
😎 Answering The Big Questions
Product management is a daunting task and it's all too easy to get bogged down by development jargon, disorganization, and confusing details. You can avoid this by focusing on the big questions at the beginning of the development process, plain and simple.
Back to basics: Think about why your product should be developed and who it's being developed for.
✅ Establishing Key Players
Since product development processes involve so many moving parts (and people!), it's best to establish the key players that make up your product development team as early as possible.
💬 Building A Strong Consensus
Product development is notoriously tricky as there are many different parties involved, often with completely different interests and skills (think project managers, clients, investors, engineers, developers, and designers all working together).
Having all these parties work on or approve the key elements of a PRD will help balance their interests and set clear expectations from the get-go.
...voila! You've made a great start to your product development process. We're sure that your new product or feature is going to be a winner... and we can't wait to hear all about it! 😉