Requirements documents are used to describe the need for the product or product enhancement; the context within which the product is used or will be used; and what the product should look like.
As a Product Manager, there are two main types of requirements document that you will need to write:
- MRD – Market Requirements Document
- PRD – Product Requirements Document
MRD – Market Requirements Document
The Market Requirements Document is written up when a market need is identified. It will express the requirements for a new product development or product enhancement. The document is solely based on the customer or potential customers and market needs that have been identified in relation to the product concept. This document is vital to ensure that the voice of the customer is heard during the product design process.
The document contains information on the following topics:
- A full description of the product or enhancement being recommended.
- Market Segmentation and Target Market analysis identifying who the potential customers will be.
- Competitive Analysis giving a full breakdown of the competitors in the market and their products.
- An analysis of the proposed product describing how it differentiates itself from the competition.
PRD – Product Requirements Document
The Product Requirements Document is generally written after the MRD. The PRD focuses on all aspects of the proposed product. It is the document that describes to all the stakeholders what the product is going to be and how it will function. This document is a key document used to make sure that all the stakeholders understand exactly what is to be delivered as a product.
The document contains information organized into the following sections:
- The purpose and the scope of the product development from a business perspective as well as a technical one.
- Details of all the stakeholders involved e.g. the business, the users and the software developer.
- Market, Market Segmentation and Target Market analysis identifying who the potential customers will be.
- An overview of the proposed product with a full set of use cases prepared in collaboration with the stakeholders.
- All the requirements for the product so; functional requirements, non-functional requirements; user requirements; and business requirements.
As you can see the PRD is a much more substantial document than the MRD. This is why they are quite often merged into one document for less complex product builds or enhancements. The PRD is the most important document because it will form the baseline for the development phase.