Product Requirements Specification


Quick Summary
An annotated outline for a Product Requirements Specification. Such a document is created early in a project to define what a product will be designed to do, in response to requests from customers and Marketing.


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What this is

Annotated outline for a Product Requirements Specification, created early in a project to define what a product will be designed to do, in response to requests from customers and Marketing. Ensures that the team has understood and responded thoroughly to the product requests put forward by Marketing, with the PRS documenting the detailed requirements that "made the cut." The PRS will be used to drive lower level design work, plan related development activities, and support meaningful estimates of effort, risk, etc. to implement what Marketing is asking for.


Why it's useful

A good specification approach ensures that the team has understood and responded thoroughly to the product requests put forward by Marketing. They then can plan development activities accordingly and produce meaningful estimates of effort, risk, etc. to implement what Marketing is asking for.

A key to thorough requirements specification and subsequent planning is not only defining the core functionality requirements, but also other important attributes. This outline includes standard sections that ensure a thorough specification - not only for features and functions, but also for other critical attributes, sometimes referred to as the "ilities" (maintainability, serviceability, usability, reliability, etc.)

In the end, the Product Requirements Specification will usually NOT include everything found in the original Marketing Requirements Document. The team will negotiate what requirements make the cut, and document them in the Product Requirements Specification.


How to use it

  • Once Marketing has at least some draft Marketing Requirements, it's recommended that the team create a Project Vision (see the ProjectConnections template for this in the Initiation phase templates list). The Project Vision is a short document, created together by the cross-functional team, which ensures the driving customer needs are really understood and prioritized.
  • Then, the team can use the high-level Project Vision plus a Marketing Requirements Document detail to create the first draft Product Requirements Specification.
  • Review the draft for adherence to the driving customer needs in the Project Vision.
  • Ensure the Product Requirements Specification gets reviewed by cross-functional team members from all key areas. The "ility" attributes are a place where these groups have critical input and should review the details as they are documented.
  • Use the information in the spec to help create early and increasingly-detailed work breakdown structures for the project planning effort. The sooner an estimate is made based on the spec drafts, the sooner the team will uncover the possible need for tradeoffs. Some functionality may have to wait until a later release, if what Marketing is asking for will exceed cost, time, or resource constraints. The PRS will be reviewed and updated as these tradeoff decisions are made.
  • Refer back to the Vision and the PRS as development progresses. Each design review should include a look back at the driving specs to ensure that design is fulfilling all requirements. Each test planning effort should ensure that all the items in the spec will be tested.

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Related Templates
Requirements Interview Checklist
A requirements interview is a focused interview with a key stakeholder or subject matter expert designed to elicit a specific set of requirements. This checklist is organized into sets of questions you should consider for each interview; important preparation that will increase your credibility and help you make the most of your time with these key resources.

Requirements Measurement Plan
This template is designed to help you think through how you will ensure that the documented requirements meet the expectations of your stakeholders, both in content and in quality.




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