PRD (Product Requirements Document) Simplified: A Guide for Product Managers

  • What is a PRD and why is it important?
  • Ideal Template of a tech PRD
  • How to write an effective PRD
  • Pitfalls / Bad PRD

What is a PRD and why is it important?

  • A product requirements document describes the product you or your company is building and drives the effort from the product team to engineering to sales and marketing.
  • The PRD clearly and unambiguously articulates the product’s purpose, features, functionality, and behavior. This specification is needed by the teams to build, test, and operationalize the full and successful product.
  • If a PRD is not done well, it is nearly impossible for a good product to result.
  • It is the single most important written product communication that brings together all the teams and stays even after the original team has left and is the beginning of the conversion from conception to reality.

Ideal PRD Template

  • What is the problem / opportunity you or your organization is trying to solve?
  • Who is the product for? (Product customers, user flows, and the value proposition for them)
  • Why it’s important including how it fits into your overall product/organizational strategy (impact of solving the problem, the necessity of solving it now, additional link to documents to the business case, market requirements can be added)
  • In this section detail the solution explaining the core capabilities (eg:- Single click option visible at top of the page with help right next to it)
  • Use Cases of the product
  • Wireframes/ Designs
  • Data/ Information/ Metrics that needs to be recorded (eg:- time the user spends on the sign-in page, number of users who drop off from the sign-in page)
  • Key input and output metrics
  • Reliability and performance metrics (eg:- sign-in should fail only 99.99% . It should take less than 1ms to proceed to the next page)
  • Scalability (eg:- should support 1MN simultaneous sign-ins)
  • UAT criteria (Test Plan and acceptance parameters) (eg:- Users should be able to find the sign-in option and enter the signed page in less than 3 secs on avg.)

How to write an effective PRD

  • Do your homework — ensure you do the proper pre-work of understanding your customers, their use cases, the problem space, competition, and the constraints.
  • Define your product principles — this will help when tradeoffs need to be made.
  • Prototype and test the product concept including usability testing. This will allow you to finetune your requirements.
  • After the above steps put down into written format according to the template.
  • Iterate through discussions with stakeholders before finalizing.

Pitfalls

  • Ensure PRD is fully detailed and not an exercise out of compulsion.
  • Avoid freezing it without stakeholder review.
  • Ensure proper usability testing is done and documented in PRD before building the product.
  • Strike a balance and ensure requirements are neither too engineering-driven nor customer-driven (marketing/ category).
  • Ensure the objective is very clear.

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