A great product idea won’t go far unless you have a clear plan and process in place for how you’re going to bring that idea to life.
Developing a new product is no simple task—it requires a clear vision, collaboration across departments, budget allocation, time, and more.
A Product Requirements Document (PRD) is a critical component of the product development process that outlines the features, functionality, and goals of your product. A well-defined PRD can help ensure that everyone involved in the product development process is on the same page and that your product meets the needs of your target audience.
By following these five tips on how to build an effective PRD, you can ensure that your product meets the needs of your target audience, aligns with your product goals and company vision, and is well-positioned for success.
Product Requirements Documents shouldn’t be exhaustive, multi-page presentations. They should be simple, lean, and concise. The purpose of these documents is to help every stakeholder quickly understand your vision, your plan, and what you’re asking them to do to help make the product development process a success.
Most Product Requirements Documents include the following sections:
Outlining a PRD in this way can make it easier for people to quickly scan and understand the project.
Every successful PRD starts with sections that describe the main problem you know exists for existing or prospective users, and what you’re going to do to help solve it.
When building your PRD, start by clearly defining the problem that your product aims to solve. Include information about your target audience, including their needs, pain points, and shared experiences. You may even decide to reference or link to customer stories and interviews that help make the problem more real for anyone reading through your document.
Then make your case for a solution to the problem. The solution section of your PRD should clearly and concisely outline exactly what your team plans to do to solve the problem you’ve identified in the previous section. You may include more information about timing or specific features within the product that help show readers how your product will address specific pain points they know users have already. Some teams choose to include specific information about vision in this section.
After you’ve laid out your problem and solution section, you’ll move on and get more specific about how your product will actually function for users. This is your opportunity to be as specific as possible about what exactly you are asking your team to help you build.
Some product managers choose to include feature sketches, mockups, or user flows in this section to help bring their proposed idea to life in the minds of anyone reading through the document.
Not all features are created equal, so in this section, it's important to prioritize them based on their importance to your product's success. Consider factors such as feasibility, impact on user experience, and alignment with your product's goals.
A really good idea doesn’t mean much unless you can show the amount of impact it will have on your users, your revenue, or your ability to compete in a marketplace.
When creating your PRD, make sure to include clear, measurable goals and metrics that everyone can reference before, during, and after you develop and launch your product. You should be clear about what you believe your product will accomplish for users once it’s up and running and in their hands. Will it boost app engagement? By how much? Will it increase user efficiency? By how much? Will it decrease the time it takes users to onboard? By how much? These are all questions you should consider addressing when coming up with key goals and metrics you want to measure.
You should also list key milestones that show you and other stakeholders how the project is progressing throughout the development process. Key milestones could relate to dates on the calendar, or they could relate to the completion of certain features along the way.
One of the final sections you should include in your PRD is a launch checklist. The launch checklist will outline the primary tasks that need to be completed in order to launch the product. This checklist should include the names of people teams who will be responsible for completing each task. It may also include specific dates that help teams or people understand when tasks need to be completed.
The launch checklist typically brings in teams that are not as involved during the actual product development process. For example, you may have tasks for the marketing team relating to product promotion or communications. Or you may have tasks for the support that relate to user education and FAQs.
Want more information about PRDs? These resources will give you deeper overviews and show you a few templates from other companies:
Need help building a Product Requirements Document and bringing your idea to life? Reach out to the Crowdbotics team and what you’re working on. You can launch 3X faster and cheaper with our data-driven app development platform.
April 18, 2023