A Product Requirements Document (PRD) is a formal writeup of a product’s requirements. This includes the products purpose, value, features, functionality, and intended behavior(s).
A PRD is written by the product manager to communicate what they are building, who it is for, and how it benefits the end user.
The PRD will help align cross functional teams on what is being built and why it is important.
There are many different approaches to crafting and writing a PRD. A Coda documents serve as an excellent way to create a PRD Template that can be reused across your product management organization.
What should be included in a Product Requirements Document?
A well written PRD should take a top-down approach that clearly outlines the overall problem to solve and the strategy behind the proposed solution. The top-approach allows the document to drive alignment across your executive and leadership team.
The document should then capture top level product features that will be required to deliver the product vision. This should be directly tied back to the overall product strategy to communicate how the work is aligned with the strategic plan.
After defining the functionality that needs to be built, you will want to lay out the release or delivery plan. Will this be delivered iteratively? Or in one single launch? When will development be done? When will testing start? There are a lot of very important questions to answer in regards to how this product will be made available to your customers!
Lastly, you will want space for your audience to be able to ask questions or provide input and feedback.
Problem to solve
What is it the problem we are solving for? A clearly defined problem is the first step in building alignment around a solution. The problem needs to be specific and actionable.
Who is this a problem for? You need to have a clear vision of who is impacted by the problem so that you can clearly articulate which personas the solution will help.
Why is this problem worth solving? Is there data suggesting that this is a priority? Are there specific market signals? A significant number of customer requests? Software teams always have more work to do than resources to do it — so why is this problem the one to devote resources to?
What does success look like? Is there a specific adoption metric we are aiming for? An increased activation rate? There should be a measurable outcome that the team is tracking towards.
What are the leading indicators of success? Are there any early signs we expect to see? This could be as simple as positive customer reactions to a launch announcement.
What are the trailing indicators of success? What are the expected long term measures of success? This if often tied to engagement and activation KPIs.
How long before we see results? Are results expected to be immediate? Long term? 30 day? 60 day? 90 day? Measurable success criteria also needs to be time boxed to hold the team accountable for both the what and when of the performance metrics.
What is the high level solution? Briefly describe the proposed solution to the problem. This should give the audience a general understanding of the direction, without getting lost in tactical details.
What alternatives were considered (if applicable)? Were there any other possible solutions considered? Was there a reason why these were decided against? This can help stakeholders understand the scope of consideration that went into the proposed solution.
Why is this the best option? What makes this the best option? It should be tied to how you expect it to best align with the outcome goals described above.
Whether you work with Epics and User Stories or Features and Requirements, these can easily be defined and tracked directly within your PRD through a simple customizable table in your PRD.
There are no rows in this table
Or you can bring the data in from 3rd party tools your team uses for task management, such as Jira, GitHub, or Asana.
Simply building the functionality is only part of the effort. A successful product needs to be launched, which is a cross functional effort bringing together stakeholders across Product, Design, and Engineering, as well as go-to-market partners in Marketing and the Customer Organizations.
It is critical to plan who owns what work, what dependencies might exist, and when the work needs to be completed in order to launch on time.