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What to Include in Product Requirements Documents for Software Development

    a man sitting at a desk writing a product requirements document

    An important step when releasing a new software product, or any product for that matter, is the creation of a product requirements document. Product requirements are a type of documentation that includes all of the relevant information about a product. This type of documentation is often created in the early stages of development, so to give developers leeway, product requirements documentation does not include how a product will eventually operate. Given the importance of product requirements documentation to the software development process, it is important to make sure it is handled correctly. This is where technical writers can help, as they know what specifically should be included in this kind of documentation, while also knowing the intricacies of software development.

    The Essentials of Product Requirement Documents

    Product requirements documentation generally should include the overview of a product, its purpose, stakeholder identification, use cases, and the requirements of it. In essence, they are the document of record for a product. Other aspects of a product such as the marketing of a product, like what the target demographic is, are handled through marketing requirement documents. Product requirement documents are more so used to gain a better understanding of how to successfully build a product. This is done by shedding light on numerous factors, such as what is being made, how it will be used, what obstacles need to be overcome, and how it is being funded. 

    Going into more detail, this type of documentation entails the outline of the product being developed, from its purpose, features, functionalities, and behavior, while also taking into account possible consumer feedback and what third-party resources will be needed. The best way to go about creating a product requirements document is to compile all this information in an organized manner so that during the development of a product. 

    • First, use cases should be included to outline how customers would respond to the product. Use cases would make it clear what the features and functions of a product are, and what situations are relevant to a customer for a certain feature or function. This way it is clear on what the product is trying to achieve with each functionality it has, and gives engineers a greater understanding of what the goal of the product is, essentially outlining the purpose behind the product. 
    • Next, a product requirements document must also outline the technical requirements that a product might have. These requirements range from the user experience of a product to give a general sense of how the product is intended to operate. And in addition to UX design, other requirements such as what operating system it is intended to function in must also be included to understand what environment a product will work in. 
    • Lastly, beyond the functional and technical aspects of a product, expectations of how users will interact with the product must also be accounted for. This is done through the inclusion of assumptions, constraints, and dependencies. Assumptions deal with how users might interact with the product, allowing you to predict how well the market responds to your product. Constraints and dependencies refer to possible limitations when developing a product, respectively budgetary or technical constraints and what the production process will depend on for your projects, such as API documentation or hardware needed for the product. By taking these three factors into account for your product requirements document, you can get a better scope of what the developmental process entails for your product, as well as correct any possible user experience issues. 

    Who to Write Product Requirement Documentation

    Looking at all this, a product requirements document necessitates a large amount of information regarding the product. The best way to go about creating this type of documentation for a software product is with a trained documentation writer. The skill of a documentation writer is that they can write concisely while also communicating all the important information needed. And with a clearly crafted product requirements document written by one of EDC’s documentation writers, your developers will have a clear understanding of the purpose and scope of whatever product you are currently working on.

    Conclusion

    The development of a new product can be chaotic given all the unknown variables at the start. The best way to reduce any potential mishaps is with a product requirements document. Product requirements documentation can be a big help in keeping track of a product during the production process in a clear step-by-step way. Whether for software products or manufactured goods, product requirements documentation gives you the advantage of a more efficient development time for your product, as all the goals and potential concerns or obstacles are laid out. The best way to produce such documentation is with trained technical and documentation writers. Essential Data Corporation’s documentation writers can provide such service.

    How EDC Can Help You?


    Whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data Corporation, the quality of our work is guaranteed. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or sales@edc.us

    Written by Stanley Chu

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