What do you do next? Do you know every detail of your product inside and out? Can you define exactly what you want to build? What color should it be? What size? What materials will be used in production? What does the user experience look like?
All of these questions and more will arise during the early development and design phases. It is important to have all the details of your idea and product outlined in a Product Requirements Document
A Product Requirements Document, also known as a PRD, defines the requirements of a product including its purpose, features, functionality, and behavior. The document serves as a guide for business and technical teams to help build, launch, and/or market your product. Building a great product requires an immense amount of research and holistic planning. The PRD serves as a compass, providing clear direction toward a product’s purpose, all while creating a shared understanding between the business, technical, and engineering teams as well as any third parties assisting with the development.
Would you bake a cake without planning the shape, size, flavor, or filling needed beforehand? Product development is more complicated than baking; and many entrepreneurs do not have an appropriate recipe for success before deciding to invest their friends’ and family’s money, seed, or series funding on expensive development projects. The MPC Team has put together a list of core areas that should be covered in any Product Requirements Document.
A Successful PRD Should Be Able to Address the Following Items
- Product Summary
- Industrial Design Requirements
- User Experience Goals
- Physical Requirements
- Engineering Disciplines Needed (Electrical, Mechanical, Etc.)
- Manufacturing Goals
- Regulatory Needs
- Packaging Goals (Out-of-Box Experience)
- Sustainability Goals
In addition to the technical requirements, you also need to focus a great deal of effort on sales, marketing, and business operations to succeed in product development. A list of these requirements to consider include:
- Go to Market Strategy
- Sales and Distribution Plan
- Maintenance, Warranty, and Serviceability
- Forward and Reverse Logistics
- Team Size and Skill Sets Needed for Execution
Recording things your company or product absolutely will not want to do is an important piece in the early product development process. This limits product churn, something we will dive deeper into with another dedicated blog post.
- What does the product stand for vs what does it not stand for
- Market reach vs staffing capabilities – Every geographic location may not be attainable on day 1
- Does the product need 15 colors and 5 accessories to be successful out of the gate?
There are numerous benefits of creating this document, but the most important in the hardware space is to reduce churn, which in effect reduces cash burn and schedule slips. The other benefit to having a robust PRD is to document what you know, learn what you don’t know, and approach investors, vendors, manufacturers and anyone else in the chain with specific targeted questions about the expected outcome.
Hardware does not have to be hard if the plan is well outlined.
Be prepared. Creating a PRD should be any entrepreneur’s first step in product development. MPC has a comprehensive template and can assist with generating and refining the document to start any product on the path to success. For more information on our PRD template, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Heather Brown