Keep Market & Product Requirements Separate

Too often Market and Product requirement documents are thought of as the same thing. But they actually serve two different and quite valuable purposes.

Market Requirements Document (MRD) [AKA: Market Needs Document]

·         Describes the “what”, not the “how”. What is the problem to be solved?

·         Form: Typically uses problem scenarios encountered by target personas

o    These scenarios state only what the user wants to do, what goals or benefits they want to achieve, without the proposed solution

·         Purpose: The MRD can inform strategy, marketing, and engineering by focusing all around a clear understanding of the customer goals of the product.

Product Requirements Document (PRD)

·         Describes “how” we solve the “what”. How is the problem described in the MRD solved?

·         Form: Dependent upon your product development methodology:

o    The Waterfall approach necessitates fully defined functional requirements.

o    An Agile approach necessitates only high level requirements, often in the form of “Use Cases” or “User Stories”.

o    A Hybrid approach (“Agile-ish”) is often used and employs a bit of each, with the mix varying by organization.

·         Purpose: The PRD primarily informs engineering. Here the MRD is referred to in order to assure that the PRD is focused on solving the ‘what’ that has been targeted.

Bill Haines