Modern ways to create Product Requirements Documents (PRDs) and a New Way to Think About Product-Market Fit

Aviral Vaid

Aviral Vaid

Nov 15, 20235 min read

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Modern ways to create Product Requirements Documents (PRDs) and a New Way to Think About Product-Market Fit

In the world of product development, creating clear and concise Product Requirements Documents (PRDs) is crucial for success. PRDs serve as a blueprint for the development team, outlining the core user stories, functional details, scenarios, and design considerations. However, the traditional approach to creating PRDs may not always be effective in today's fast-paced and ever-changing market. In this article, we will explore modern ways to create PRDs and discuss a new perspective on product-market fit.

One modern approach to creating PRDs is to use epics to represent specific features. Epics allow for a more focused and organized approach to product development, as they break down complex features into smaller, manageable user stories. By creating an epic that represents a specific feature, product teams can ensure that all the essential functional details are captured. For example, an epic could be created for an admin user, with the core user story being "As an admin user, I can X so that..." This simple structure helps to provide clarity and direction for the development team.

In addition to the core user story, a pragmatic user story should also include essential functional details. These details can be summarized using bullet points to keep the document brief and easy to understand. By providing a summary of the core functional details, the development team can quickly grasp the requirements and begin working on the implementation.

Scenarios are another important element to consider when creating PRDs. Scenarios provide information about what to do in different situations or use cases. While it is not necessary to include every possible scenario, it is important to discuss and address the most critical ones during scoping and sizing sessions. By involving the development team in these discussions, they can think through the scenarios and work collaboratively to find pragmatic solutions. This approach allows for flexibility and agility during the development process, as adjustments and iterations can be made on the fly.

To ensure that the development team has a clear understanding of the design requirements, it is essential to provide links to designs in the PRD. Ideally, these designs should be as fleshed out as possible, but it is common for tweaks and iterations to be necessary as the development progresses. By providing links to the designs, the team can easily access and reference them throughout the development process.

In addition to the core user story, functional details, scenarios, and design links, it is also helpful to provide wider context by including links to epics or labels. This helps to connect the specific user story to the bigger picture and provides a broader understanding of how it fits into the overall product roadmap.

Lastly, the comments or questions section in the PRD is a valuable space to document important decisions or clarify any uncertainties. It is common for there to be a time lag between agreeing on the size and scope of a functional requirement and actually implementing it. Therefore, having clear and concise comments that are easy to reference and understand can be extremely helpful for future reference. They provide context and reasoning behind decisions, allowing for a better understanding of why certain choices were made.

While creating effective PRDs is crucial, it is equally important to understand the concept of product-market fit (PMF). Many misconceptions surround PMF, including the belief that it is binary or a spectrum. In reality, PMF is a dynamic landscape that can be visualized as having three areas: PMF Desert, PMF Mountain, and PMF Mountain Peak.

The PMF Desert represents being far off from achieving PMF. It indicates that something fundamental is wrong and requires bold moves to rectify the situation. In this stage, it is important to go back to the basics and make significant changes rather than trying to iterate your way out of the problem.

As progress is made towards PMF, the journey takes you to the PMF Mountain. Here, you can see the peak but barely. It is crucial to keep moving quickly in this stage and remain bold while holding on to what is working. It can be tempting to become conservative and slow down the iterations, but it is important to resist this temptation and continue climbing the mountain at a fast pace.

Finally, the PMF Mountain Peak represents the point where a real company is built. At this stage, it is time to hit the gas and accelerate growth. The focus shifts from achieving PMF to scaling the product and expanding the business.

In conclusion, creating effective PRDs requires a modern approach that incorporates clear user stories, essential functional details, scenarios, design links, and wider context. By using epics to represent specific features, product teams can ensure a focused and organized development process. Additionally, understanding the concept of PMF and visualizing it as a dynamic landscape can provide valuable insights into the journey towards product-market fit. To achieve success, it is crucial to be bold, iterate quickly, and make bold moves when necessary.

Actionable Advice:

1. Prioritize clear and concise user stories in your PRDs to provide direction for the development team.

2. Involve the development team in discussions about scenarios and work collaboratively to find pragmatic solutions.

3. Keep the momentum going by resisting the temptation to become conservative when you start seeing progress towards PMF. Keep iterating and moving quickly towards your goals.

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