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.