Martin Cagan, Silicon Valley Product GroupOVERVIEW
The PRD describes the product your company will build. It drives the efforts of theentire product team and the company’s sales, marketing and customer support efforts.It’s hard to come up with a more important, higher leverage piece of work for acompany. The purpose of the product requirements document (PRD)
or product spec is toclearly and unambiguously articulate the product’s purpose, features, functionality, andbehavior. The product team will use this specification to actually build and test theproduct, so it needs to be complete enough to provide them the information they needto do their jobs.If the PRD is done well, it still might not be a successful product, but it is certain thatif the PRD is not done well, it is nearly impossible for a good product to result.
The PRD versus the MRD
We draw a distinction here between the product requirements and the marketrequirements (often referred to as the “MRD”). Put very simply, the marketrequirements describe the opportunity or the market need, and the productrequirements describe a product that addresses that opportunity or need.
The PRD versus the Product Strategy and Roadmap
The product strategy describes a vision, typically between two and five years out, of where you want the product to go, and the product roadmap describes the varioussteps to get there. The PRD describes a particular product release along that path.
Note: Different companies and industries use different terms or acronyms to refer to the product requirements.Similarly, some use a single document to capture market, product and interface requirements, and others use a seriesof documents. For our purposes, we simply refer to the “product requirements” and use the acronym PRD. Weintentionally do not refer to MRD which we consider distinct.
This paper is based in part on the notes and insights of Ben Horowitz, President and CEO of Opsware.
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