What is a good product requirements document template?
A product requirements document (PRD) defines the value and purpose of a product or feature. It is written by the product manager to communicate what you are building, who it is for, and how it benefits the end user. It is often confused with a market requirements document (MRD), but they are different. An MRD should be created before a PRD so you can document what the customer needs and wants from your product or service before you define the requirements.
Your PRD should follow a top-down approach that starts with the overall vision of what you want to accomplish. It should then tie product goals and initiatives with the features required to achieve that vision. A well-defined PRD also includes details about how the end user will interact with the functionality and what it will look like.
Many people associate PRDs with the waterfall development methodology. In waterfall, requirements are defined in the first phase of the project and provide a detailed description of what will be built. In recent years, agile development has shifted organizations towards using a more adaptive planning approach. This means requirements are continuously added to the backlog and prioritized based on importance.
But PRDs do not need to be lengthy documents. The intent of the document is to get everyone aligned around the key capabilities that will be delivered in a new product or release. This can help engineering, design, support, sales, and marketing teams effectively collaborate to deliver a Complete Product Experience that delights customers.
Today, many teams use purpose-built product management software to define work in small chunks and link that work to strategic goals and initiatives. This creates a more agile approach to building products and saves you time writing a new document for each release. But if you are not yet ready to use a web-based tool to collaborate on your product plans in real time, this guide provides a useful template for writing a product requirements document.
The key components of a product requirements document template
A PRD template is a great way to capture information about your product requirements in one place — so everyone understands how the new features will solve customer problems and move the product strategy forward.
The list below shows the key components a PRD should include:
This guide describes the purpose of each component and includes a template for capturing the details. You can download the combined PRD template for free as a Word or PDF document below.
The objective section of a PRD explains the customer problem you are solving and how it relates to your vision, goals, and initiatives. This establishes the high-level purpose for what you want to accomplish and who your product is for. It also keeps the broader product team focused on building features that delight your customers — so you can deliver a Minimum Lovable Product (MLP).
This template is a useful way to summarize your product strategy:
|Vision||Where you want your product to be in the future|
|Goals||List product goals with a time frame and success metric|
|Initiatives||List strategic product initiatives|
|Personas||Who the product is for|
Use the release section of the PRD to outline what will be delivered and when. This helps internal teams understand the scope and timeline of the release so they can plan their work. Capture key milestones and dependencies to keep everyone on track.
Here is a template for capturing key information about a release:
|Initiative||Initiative that the release relates to|
|Features||List the key features included in the release|
The next step is to define each feature (or user story) that will be delivered in the release. This section of the PRD is where you explain exactly what needs to be built so the development team can determine how best to implement it.
Use this template to document the product requirements for each feature.
|Feature||Name of the new feature or user story|
|Description||Description of what the new feature will do|
|Purpose||Task or action the user wants to accomplish|
|User problem||Pain point or challenge|
|User value||How the proposed solution helps the user|
|Assumptions||Business, user, or technical assumptions|
|Not doing||Anything that is out of scope for this feature|
|Acceptance criteria||Conditions of acceptance|
4. User flow and design
Include visual wireframes and mockups in your PRD to show what the feature will look like and where it fits on the overall sitemap or page. This helps engineering understand exactly what you are envisioning and how the functionality should be implemented.
Thinking about a feature from the perspective of what the user is trying to accomplish helps the team create a better overall experience. Wireframes are a great way to model how the user will interact with the functionality. Visualizing the customer journey in this way helps you identify ways to improve the overall experience and reduces misunderstandings about how features should work.
It is important to establish upfront how you will measure the success of your features. Create a hypothesis about the impact you think a feature will have so you can assess whether it achieves the desired results.
Here is a simple template you can use to develop a hypothesis for each feature:
We believe <this feature> will achieve <this outcome>.
Include an overall success metric to evaluate whether or not your hypothesis was correct. For example, here is a hypothesis for a feature in our demo product, Fredwin Cycling.
We believe that supporting multiple languages will increase customer acquisition in international markets by 30 percent.
Understanding customer behavior and what is working is key to building a product that delights your users. Work with engineering to put feature tracking in place in your application. This enables you to monitor key performance indicators so you can analyze how users are engaging with features and where further improvements might be needed.
Here are some examples of performance indicators:
- Percent of users who interact with the feature
- How long it takes for people to interact with the feature for the first time
- How often each feature is being used
- How long users spend interacting with the feature
- How users navigate through important workflows
- Abandonment rate
Here is a template for capturing the performance indicators for each feature.
|Performance indicator||Baseline||Target||Time frame|
6. Future work
It can be helpful to include high-level information about future roadmap plans for your product in the PRD. Include any relevant information that helps the team understand how the product may evolve over time.
This template is a useful way to describe future work in a PRD:
|Future work||Purpose||Priority||Time frame|
Cross-team collaboration is essential to building great products. Capturing your product requirements in one place helps everyone work more efficiently and deliver what customers need.
As you write your PRD, remember that the purpose of the document is to get everyone aligned so that they can understand how the product or feature works. Share the PRD with business and technical teams who help build, launch, and market your product so you can move forward in the same direction.