What is PRD and why is it important for Product Managers?

A Product Requirements Document is crafted by a product manager to communicate the functionality, constraints, and goals of a product to be developed.

This whole document makes sure everyone working on the product knows exactly what to do and why it’s important.

First, it talks about the Purpose, which is the main problem the product will fix. This part makes sure the product is needed and will help people. Then, it describes the Target Audience, meaning the people who will use or buy the product.

Next, the PRD lists all the Features and Requirements, which are details about what the product will do and what needs to be built to make it work. It also covers Non-Functional Requirements like how fast it works, how safe it is, and other important standards.

Last, it mentions Constraints, or the limits like money, time, or technology, that could affect making the product. 

Why is a PRD Needed?

  1. Stakeholder Alignment: A PRD ensures that all stakeholders, including product managers, developers, designers, marketers, and executives, are aligned with the product’s vision, goals, and features.
  1. Decision Making: PRDs provide a structured framework for making informed decisions throughout the product development lifecycle, from prioritising features to allocating resources effectively.
  1. Scope Management: PRDs help manage the scope of the project by clearly outlining what is included (and what is not included) in the product development efforts, thereby preventing scope creep and ensuring project focus.
  1. Communication: PRDs facilitate effective communication among cross-functional teams by providing a shared understanding of the product’s objectives, functionalities, and clearly defining roles, responsibilities, and expectations for each team member involved

How to Use a PRD?

  1. Iterate & Feedback: Continuously update the PRD based on stakeholder feedback to refine product features and user experience.
  1. Versioning and Collaboration: Keep track of PRD changes and encourage input from all teams, utilizing diverse expertise.
  1. Strategic Alignment: Ensure the PRD aligns with business goals and user needs, supporting the product’s market fit and value.
  1. Validation and Adaptability: Regularly test the PRD against user and market feedback, staying flexible to adjust to new insights and conditions.
  1. Openness and Accountability: Make the PRD accessible to all stakeholders, fostering transparency and collaborative development.

What are the contents of a PRD?

  1. Product Snapshot: Begin with a title for easy identification, including a change history for tracking updates, and provide an overview to explain the project’s essence and purpose.
  1. Goals and Planning: Outline success metrics to define what success looks like, and detail the timeline or release plan to set expectations for progress and delivery.
  1. User Insight: Describe target personas to clarify who the product is for, and use user scenarios to depict how various users will interact with the product in real-life situations.
  1. Specifications: List and prioritize user stories, features, and technical requirements to guide the development process, ensuring all functionalities are clearly defined.
  1. Design and Considerations: Incorporate initial designs or mockups for a visual understanding of the product, and highlight open issues to address unresolved questions or challenges.

Grab the FREE PRD Notion Template herehttps://ankits.gumroad.com/l/yjtng

How to make a PRD?

For a comprehensive guide to mastering the craft of PRDs, delve into this complete walkthrough.

1. Why? (Objective)

  • For business: It helps us align our efforts with the business strategy, ensuring that what we build contributes to the overall success of the company.
  • For users: This document ensures that we address the needs and solve the problems of our users effectively.

2. How do we measure success?

  • Associated OKR/Goal
  • Success Metrics
  • Guardrail/Do not disturb metrics

3. Who are the users:

  • User Persona
  • Problems we are solving
  • How do we know these problems exist

4. Solution:

  • Brief of the solution: We will provide a summary of the proposed solution to address the identified user problems.
  • Other alternatives considered with prioritization metrics

5. Product flow (Details of the feature/product):

  • Customer Journey
  • Wireframes and Flow diagrams
  • User Stories
  • User acceptance criteria
  • Edge cases
  • Event tracking sheet

How to read a PRD?

Reading a Product Requirements Document (PRD) is like using a map before starting a journey. It helps you know where you’re going, what you’ll need, and how to get there. Here’s a simplified guide for product managers on how to read a PRD

  1. Grasp the Big Picture: Start with the executive summary to understand the project’s purpose, target audience, and main objectives. This high-level view sets the stage for the detailed information that follows.
  2. Understand User Requirements: Focus on the users’ needs, pain points, and the proposed solutions. Examine the use cases to see how the product fits into their workflow or daily life.
  3. Review Specifications: Go through both functional and non-functional requirements, including performance, security standards, and compliance needs. These define what the product must achieve and its quality benchmarks.
  4. Assess Scope and Technicalities: Identify what’s included and excluded in the project scope, understand any technical specifications provided, and note any design elements like mockups or wireframes. This helps in aligning with the engineering team and visualizing the end product.
  5. Plan and Collaborate: Note the timeline, key milestones, and the feedback mechanism. Prepare for continuous collaboration and iteration based on feedback and new insights. Document questions and discussions for future reference and ensure changes to the PRD are communicated effectively to all stakeholders

Importance of a 1-Page PRD

One Page PRD streamlines the communication of a product’s core objectives and features, ensuring everyone from developers to stakeholders is on the same page. Here’s why it’s important:

  1. Clarity: By condensing the product vision to a single page, it eliminates ambiguity, focusing solely on what’s crucial.
  2. Improves Communication: Its succinct nature facilitates quick sharing and reviewing, making discussions and decisions more efficient.
  3. Streamlines Development: It helps prioritize essential features, making the development process lean and focused.
  4. Supports Agile Practices: The one-page format is adaptable and perfectly suited for agile environments where flexibility and rapid iterations are key.
  5. Accountability: It acts as a clear reference for the project’s goals, aligning teams and ensuring accountability towards the vision.

For product managers, a one-page PRD is a tool that drives clarity, efficiency, and alignment throughout the product development lifecycle. Keeping it simple yet comprehensive ensures that your team can move swiftly towards creating a product that meets your vision and the market’s needs.

Example PRDs and other Resources