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Blog > Product design > How To Write a Good Product Requirements Document

How To Write a Good Product Requirements Document

2020-05-13
33064

Product Requirements Document (PRD) scopes almost everything that product your team builds. However, it is never an easy task to write and manage effective PRDs. In this article, we will share the most important guides on how to write a good product requirements document.

What is a Product Requirements Document?

Product requirement document (PRD) is a document that describes all related information of a particular product based on user research. It helps product teams to define what they are going to build. A PRD usually contains at least the following parts:

1. Product overview

Like a blueprint, it explains the background and core functions of the product. It helps to formulate the core tasks of product design.

2. User and market demands

Before building a product, the product manager needs to understand the users, the business goals, and the market.

3. Functional requirements

PRD explains the product function details and main processes. The list of details includes the purpose of the product, the main functions, the main user usage scenarios, the main interactions, etc.

4. Test requirements

Products generally have a beta version before the official launch, and product managers need to customize the function or performance of the test product.

5. Product operation and market analysis

It’s not enough to complete product development; the ultimate goal of the product design is to win the market. That’s why PRD needs also include a recommended strategy for product promotion.

Why is a Product Requirements Document so important?

As an important work content output of a product manager, product documentation carries the following vital roles:

● Explains the research results, functions, logic, page details and other information of the overall product design;

● Acts as a bridge for design-development communication, which can reduce communication costs;

● Provides developers the necessary information about functional requirements, helps them understand the requirements, and complete the development on time.

How to Write a Good Product Requirements Document?

The best product requirements document writing skills and practices contains the following 5 core aspects:

1. Define product purpose

Before you start, you need to address the needs of your product. Typically you need to answer the following questions:

  • Why should you build a particular product?
  • Who are you building for? Who are your main primary users?
  • What problem does your product solve?

You must have an overview of the purpose of your product and have a complete understanding of the user needs as well as how your product fulfills those needs. For example, if you're going to build a design platform, then your users should be UX/UI designers, product managers, and the developers and the purpose of your product might be connecting the entire design workflow for them so that you can make the design better and faster.

Mockplus is the all-in-one design platform where designers, developers and product managers can work together. When we were planning to build it, we had a goal to help the design team to create the best user experience. 

2. Describe product features

Features of the product are the main ingredients of your PRD. They help you understand what you are building and what makes your product distinct from the others in the market.

You need to break down the features of your product based on the purpose you want to serve for your target users. For example, when we were building Mockplus, we describe its features as the following:

Team management

  • Invite members
  • Various roles and permissions
  • Manage groups
  • Team settings

Flexible workflow

  • Comment / Review / Development mode
  • Project modification notification
  • Page modification notification
  • Comment related notification
  • Progress / Status tag

Smart specs

  • Select separate specs
  • Select multiple specs smartly
  • Percentage specs
  • Manage history revision of specs
  • Find duplicate elements in one click
  • Magnifier
  • Generate code automatically
  • Adapt to different devices automatically
  • Custom width
  • Custom device frame
  • Custom spec decimals
  • 3. Set product release criteria

Are you ready to release your product for beta testing? Find your answers by setting the release criteria. The criteria can be a specific functionality, lack of usability problems, a certain level of performance, or something else. You can outline criteria based on the following aspects:

  • Functionality

Check how many of the features your product has covered already. What are the necessary functionalities required? Ensure your product is useful to the users.

  • Usability

Check if your product is easy to use. You can run user testing and have their feedback.

  • Reliability

Check if your product is reliable. What problems users might face during the interaction with a product? Can users recover from those failures?

  • Performance

Check the performance of your product. For example, conduct running speed, measure response time, throughput, and memory consumption.

  • Supportability

Make sure your product can be installed and configured by users.

4. Plan product timeline

There is no need to set precise timing, but a rough timeline is enough. By planning a product timeline, you increase the chance that a product goes well with the key time point.

5. Tools you will need to write a good PRD

Are you looking for an easy yet effective way to write a product document? Do you need an easier and faster way to review, read, and share online with the whole team when you finish writing? And most importantly, how do you manage and update your PRD?

You will need to figure out what is the best tool to write PRD. An effective tool can be handy because it will save you a lot of time. Here are some tools you might use to write PRDs:

1. JIRA - Testing for feedback

JIRA can help you to track projects with its flexible configuration, comprehensive functions, simple deployment, and rich expansion.

2. MindManager - Mind mapping

MindManager is a simple and easy-to-use mind mapping tool. It features a friendly user interface and rich functions which can help product managers to organize their thoughts.

3. ProcessOn - UI flow

ProcessOn has a simple drag and drop option. It also supports online collaboration for multiple users.

4. Mockplus - Writing PRD online

Mockplus is the platform that connects your entire product workflow. Online PRD writing is one of Mockplus' many unique features that differs from other product design platforms available on the market. It holds a number of features that can help you write product documents faster and easier.

  • Rich text editor

Powerful editing tools can help you write everything that defines your product. You can also sync a doc to the cloud and share it with your team.

  • Insert designs or prototypes

You can insert wireframes, high-fidelity prototypes, images, and other visuals to explain any sentences or paragraphs in your PRD. Everything is auto-synced!

  • Easy to comment

You can add document or link references while commenting on a PRD with the pinning tools.

  • Collaborate with your whole team online

You can share your PRDs with other members via a link. That way, they can spare any free time to review, pin a comment, and leave their feedback according to their schedule.

  • Keep RPD up to date easily

It is difficult to keep content up to date if using tools like Microsoft Word. But everything is auto-sync in Mockplus so your entire team can get the fresh content.

What are the best PRD templates?

Besides writing PRD with a professional tool, a pre-designed PRD template can be useful too. Here we have some PRD templates for you:

1. PRD template from aha.io

PRD template from aha.io includes the content of objective, release, features, user flow and design, analytics and future work. You can download files in PDF and Word. This template will walk you through the assumptions, user stories, UX design, scoping, and more.

2. Product requirements template from atlassian.com

Product requirements template from atlassian.com has categories that cover features, partners, business strategy, design, docs and reports, human resources, and other features. You can flesh out your product requirements with your development team and product designers by using this template.

3. PRD from product hunt

PRD from Product Hunt is a template created with Google Doc. You need to apply for edit if you want to rewrite the product requirement document.

Conclusion

Building a product with good user experience is never an easy task. But a detailed product requirement document can help you with that. Hope our article will help you with that.

Trista Liu

In-house UX copywriter. She is passionate about UX design, always bursting with energy and full of new ideas.

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