Modern ways to create Product Requirements Documents (PRDs) - Department of Product

Aviral Vaid

Hatched by Aviral Vaid

May 19, 2024

4 min read


Modern ways to create Product Requirements Documents (PRDs) - Department of Product

In today's fast-paced and ever-evolving business landscape, it is essential for product teams to adapt their approach to creating Product Requirements Documents (PRDs). Traditional methods may no longer be effective in capturing the dynamic needs and preferences of modern users. In this article, we will explore some modern ways to create PRDs that align with the demands of today's market.

One approach that has gained popularity is the use of epics. Epics allow product teams to represent specific features in a concise and organized manner. By breaking down the requirements into smaller, manageable units, teams can focus on the core functionality of each feature. For example, an epic can be created to represent a specific user role, such as an admin user, and outline the desired actions or capabilities for that role.

To ensure clarity and ease of understanding, it is important to include essential functional details in the PRD. This can be done through bullet points that summarize the core functionality of the feature. By keeping this section brief and to the point, stakeholders can quickly grasp the key aspects of the requirement.

Scenarios play a crucial role in defining how the feature should behave in different situations. While it is not necessary to cover every possible scenario exhaustively, it is important to discuss and document the most critical ones during scoping or sizing sessions. Smart engineers can then work with the team to come up with pragmatic solutions on the fly as they build the feature.

Linking the PRD to designs is another effective way to provide context and ensure a cohesive understanding of the feature. Ideally, the designs should be as detailed as possible, but it is also important to allow room for iteration and refinement as the feature is being built. By referencing the designs in the PRD, stakeholders can visualize how the feature will look and function, facilitating better collaboration and alignment.

Incorporating wider context into the PRD is essential for a holistic understanding of the feature's place in the overall product roadmap. This can be achieved by including links to epics or labels that provide insights into how the feature fits into the bigger picture. This not only helps stakeholders grasp the strategic significance of the feature but also enables them to make informed decisions regarding its prioritization and implementation.

Comments and questions should not be overlooked in the PRD. They serve as a valuable resource for documenting important decisions or clarifying any uncertainties. It is important to use the comments section to provide explanations or justifications for certain design choices or requirements. These comments serve as a reference point for future iterations or discussions, ensuring that the rationale behind certain decisions is well-documented and easily accessible.

Now that we have explored some modern ways to create PRDs, let's discuss three actionable pieces of advice to enhance the effectiveness of your PRD process:

  • 1. Foster collaboration: Encourage cross-functional collaboration throughout the PRD creation process. Involve engineers, designers, and other stakeholders from the beginning to ensure that all perspectives are considered and integrated into the requirements. This will lead to a more comprehensive and cohesive PRD.
  • 2. Prioritize user feedback: Incorporate user feedback into the PRD process to ensure that the requirements truly align with user needs and preferences. Conduct user research, gather feedback through surveys or interviews, and use this information to inform the creation of the PRD. By putting the user at the center of the process, you can create a product that truly delights customers.
  • 3. Embrace flexibility: Recognize that the PRD is not a static document but rather an evolving artifact. Embrace flexibility and iterative approaches to allow for adjustments and refinements as the development process progresses. Regularly revisit and update the PRD based on new insights or changing market conditions.

In conclusion, modernizing the approach to creating PRDs is crucial for product teams to meet the demands of today's market. By incorporating elements such as epics, essential functional details, scenarios, design links, wider context, and comments, teams can create PRDs that are more agile, collaborative, and aligned with user needs. By following the actionable advice of fostering collaboration, prioritizing user feedback, and embracing flexibility, teams can further enhance the effectiveness of their PRD process and ultimately deliver products that delight customers in hard-to-copy, margin-enhancing ways.

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