Imagine yourself as a Product Manager, and a client has approached you with an idea of a product that he needs your company to develop.
Now to get this product built you need to explain the product concept and features to developers, designers and other stakeholders in the team
For this you can use a PRD to explain product concept to entire team so that they understand on what type of product needs to built with little chaos.
Here i will talk about:
What is a Product Requirement Document?
A Product requirement Document is a document which lists the features of the particular product in detail as well as describes the product goals and other functionalities.
You can present the PRD as a 1 page document or even with more pages or else even present it as a set of artifacts consisting of diagrams, images and layouts.
When preparing PRD make sure it is written in simple language which is easy to understand and include only necessary information so that other members of the team working on the project doesn’t get confused.
Importance Of A Product Requirement Document?
*Clarity & Direction: Its very important that the entire team involved in product development has a common understanding about the products goals, features and other functionalities that needs to be achieved. Only having such clarity can the product be built successfully. By verbal communication or by just conveying via mail the features that need to built in product to team can never attain such clarity. Preparing a PRD can act as a guide to direct the team to build a successful product.
*Minimize Rework: Preparing a Product Requirement Document helps in predicting potential issues before they happen. The issue can be a technology related problem or a problem concerned with the business or any other problem but such issues can be cleared of in the beginning and save project development time and cost.
*Continuity: Members can leave the team at any moment and new members can join the development team at any stage, If a product requirement document is made available the new members can easily understand the product’s purpose and functionalities and maintain a continuity without affecting the product development cycle.
*Higher Satisfaction: Higher satisfaction can be achieved among developers, customer, business teams and other stakeholders involved in the project as the PRD makes it very clear to all stakeholders what needs to be done before starting the project and if ever there is any doubts or misunderstandings it can get cleared at the starting resulting in higher satisfaction among team.
How To Write a Product Requirement Document
You can use different kinds of templates while writing a PRD, I use a format where i divide the PRD into 7 sections and the sections are sequenced as follows.
1) Project Specifics: This is the starting section and here i include the following information
- List of names of people who are involved in the project (Developer Name, Testers etc)
- Status: Whether the project has begun, delayed etc.
- Time for Completion
- Project Name
2) Product Goal & Vision
In this section a brief description about the product and its purpose is mentioned as well as few other information are also included such as
- List of competitors of the product
- What type of users are your targeting
- Business goals the product needs to achieve
3) Feature Listing
Here all the features that need to be included in the product is mentioned. Make sure the features are listed clearly and adequate information regarding each feature is mentioned.
You can follow a table format to display the listed feature which includes columns for Feature Name, Feature Description, Priority etc.
4) Design Layout
Here you can include the UI layout of the product as well as wireframes on the product which gives information on the user flow and also displays visually how certain functions need to be offered to users.
5) Technical Architecture
Here you can specify the software architecture that is being followed and how the various components communicates among each other.
When you discuss with the team regarding project a lot of questions will arise and in this section all the questions that need to addressed can be listed for eg:
- What about implementing Facebook login in addition to Gmail Login
- Do we need to use our own email server or an external provider
- Which payment gateway do we need to use
You can follow a 2 column format in this section which one column will contain questions and the other answers.
7) Future Plans
Here you can list out future additions you intend to make in the product and by doing this you can keep the team clearly focused on the present work and can set aside work that can be considered at a later time.
One main criteria in launching a successful project is that all project participants should have a clear and identical idea of the project and for this maintaining a written document with all information about the project can eliminate the risk of confusion and launch project successfully.