What is a PRD? A Beginners guide to Product Requirement Document

Manali Mehrishi

23rd Jan'23
What is a PRD? A Beginners guide to Product Requirement Document | OpenGrowth

A PRD is a product requirement document that specifies the purpose, features, and timeline of a product. It identifies the end-to-end user experience of a product. However, it does not specify how to build a product from end to end. It is like a guiding tool created by product managers for designers, managers, marketers, engineers, customer support teams, and all the other stakeholders to understand why a product is created from a user's perspective.

A product requirements document is part of the requirement-gathering process that begins before the product is developed and manufactured. So that its features, behavior, and functionality are clearly defined before product development.

A Beginner’s Guide to the Product Requirements Document

a beginners guide to the product requirement document

Writing a PRD must involve all the stakeholders in the development stage to ensure they are all on the same wavelength about the product goals and release date. It provides seamless collaboration and integration between teams. When everyone knows what the product is about and the user end goals, the development, manufacturing, and launch become a seamless process.

Here is a step-wise guide to writing a PRD.

  1. State the purpose of the product

The purpose of the product should answer these questions:

  • Why is this product created, and what are the problems this product is going to solve?
  • What is the customer base of this product, and who is going to use this product?

  • How important it is to create this product/define its importance.

All the stakeholders must have clarity of the purpose and should be on the same page before moving to the next stage in the development process.

  1. Define the goals and objectives

  • A PRD should be able to define the expected outcome of a product.
  • The stakeholders should know how the product should perform in the market. It ensures the development process works in alignment with business goals and objectives.

  • The goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, and time-based.

  1. Define the features of a product(user stories)

  • Describe the features of a product in minimum detail from the user's perspective, as too much technical detail is of no use to the sales team. Minimum and to-the-point details make a PRD effective.
  • You can also include the demographic details of the expected user base and how are they going to use a product. For example, a college student will use a digital product differently than a housewife or a manager.

  1. Functionality

a beginners guide to product requirement document

  • Describe the minimum functionality required in the product at the time of its release.

  • You can also include a workflow diagram or a wireframe as per suitability.

  • A virtual design will help the development team to better understand how a product should look like.

  1. Usability and reliability testing

  • To make sure a product is valuable, determine the plausible outcome of user testing and an action plan as per the result of user testing.
  • Determine a performance baseline for the product.

  1. System requirements

  • It should be clear in which systems and environments the product will be used by the end-user and, it should be tested under the same conditions.
  • The browser, operating system, memory, and processor are examples of some systems on which the product can be tested.

  • Determine how the product will be supported by various systems during release, its installation process, loading speed, and configuration details.

  1. Customer support

  • Since our end goal is to create a product to satisfy our users, the customer support team should be able to access and have a clear understanding of product FAQs and other documentation to solve customer problems as soon as possible.

A product requirement document is reviewed right from managers to testers, hence it's imperative to have a central solution where everyone involved can review the latest modifications in the PRD online. It must be understandable, accessible, and manageable. Generally, a PRD consists of 3-4 pages.


Why is PRD important?

A product requirement document bridges the gap between the vision and purpose of a product. It states the technical and business requirements of a product.

  • It gives an idea about the estimated project cost.
  • The time spent in creating a PRD saves a lot of time at the latter stages as there are minimum redundancies.

  • It also defines the target users or consumers of the product, which is crucial from a business and marketing point of view.

  • PRD states the minimum requirements of a product at the time of its release. So that the engineers can prioritize creating the required functionality first or they can develop a minimally viable product.

  • PRD is the key communication tool between the stakeholders, especially the product managers and the developers. The managers state user requirements and developers analyze and build a product as per those requirements.


Conclusion


A Product requirement document is an essential tool for the design and development of a product. It's one of the most important tools in a product manager's toolbox. It guides the entire development team to build a product as per user requirements and on a specific timeline. However, it does not define in detail how to build a product. 

It is a great communication tool between managers, developers, testers, and the marketing team. It defines a timeline and the features required in a minimum viable product, that is, the performance level of the product at the time of its release. In other words, it helps you achieve the right product-market fit.

As a beginner, if you are still unsure about creating a PRD yourself, you can use various templates and tools available online to help you in creating your first product requirements document.

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Manali is a versatile content writer with experience in creating compelling blog posts, website copies, and content strategies across several industries. She is committed to delivering top-notch content that meets both her readers' expectations and her clients' standards. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, baking, and acquiring new knowledge and skills.

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