5 Tips for Writing a Product Requirements Document

Part of the role of Product Manager in many companies in Australia is to prepare Product Requirements. For some, this may be a daunting task. Other Product Managers love the challenge of crafting a great Product Requirements Document (PRD).

Here are some quick tips on how I approach writing a PRD.

Before you begin writing the PRD, you must have an understanding of the customer need or problem that the new product or feature is trying to solve. Preferably, the “customer problem” should be articulated in the Market Requirements Document (MRD) but if it’s not, write the high level or “big picture” requirements before descending into the detail.

  1. Describe or sketch your ideas on paper before sitting down at the computer. This will better help formulate your thoughts and ideas.
  2. Talk about or workshop the requirements with others. As you talk, your idea and the requirements become clearer. You may want to run several workshops with other Product Managers and Developers during the PRD phase. The conversation will help you think of scenarios that you may have missed.
  3. Use or create a good PRD template that incorporates the market requirements. A good template will guide you through the process and prevent you from missing any key elements. Including the market requirements in the PRD, will help you stay focus and exclude superfluous product requirements.
  4. Dump out a first draft. Get past writers block by ignoring the quality of the writing. Don’t worry about your sentence structure or your grammar for the moment. Just write. You can finesse the wording and your sentence structure later.
  5. Take time out to think. If you are struggling thinking about the requirements itself, stop writing. Do something else. As you work on something completely unrelated, ideas will begin to form.

Do you have to write PRD’s? What tips do you have that make the process easier? Go ahead and add them in the comments below…