Product managers regularly face many challenges, but keeping a development team and stakeholders on the same page shouldn’t be one of them. A product requirement document not only serves as a roadmap for a product's development process, but it also keeps everyone on the product team aligned and helps them communicate clearly. A good PRD template, combined with the following best practices, can improve the success of your projects.
What’s a PRD, and why use a PRD template?
A PRD is a living document that lays out what new product or new feature a team is building and what requirements need to be factored into the process. PRDs can look very different from one industry to another, and even within the same industry, a PRD that works well for one team may not work well for other teams. What they all have in common, though, is these five basic elements:
Context. Address the user problem you’re trying to solve. Using a sentence or two, provide high-level context that gives team members and stakeholders a summary of what the product is and why it matters to end-users.
Goals/requirements. List your goals in order of priority; try to keep the list short and the goals concise. Write out the requirements you need to meet, such as key performance indicators, project milestones, and success metrics.
Constraints. Outline the constraints and limitations you’ll most likely face when creating your product. These will help serve as boundaries to keep your product features and your team within scope.
Assumptions. Detail the assumptions your team is making about your product's audience and their use cases for the product, and then question those assumptions as a team.
Dependencies. Note the functional requirements your product must have in order to successfully solve the problem you’ve outlined and what your team needs to do or obtain in order to ensure that success.
Rather than starting with a blank slate, using a PRD template will keep you aligned with key principles and goals you've set out for your product as you work toward your product launch.
1. Use the right tool
While you have many ways to create a PRD, including text documents, spreadsheets, slide presentations, and whiteboards, those aren’t the optimal tools for creating a PRD template, especially if you work with a hybrid or remote team. The ideal tool is one that lets you work collaboratively and asynchronously, so no matter where you and your fellow employees are located, your team can make use of your PRD, and everyone can stay on the same page.
Text documents and spreadsheets are often used for PRDs because they’re widely available and people are used to turning to them, but the limitations of their functionality can create issues that are further amplified when working with an async team. Sharing documents via email can result in multiple versions of the same document or information not getting carried over to the newest version.
In addition to choosing a tool that makes collaboration easy, you also want one that offers a wide variety of customizable features, like the ability to make comments and notes, tag team members or solicit opinions through upvotes, connect to additional project documentation, add due dates, reminders, checklists, and more.
For example, if you’re using a spreadsheet for your PRD, you’re locked into the features it has, so your other project documents, such as a task list and project calendar, need to live in a folder alongside it. In Notion, you can make your task list part of your PRD and easily toggle to a calendar view, which keeps everything in one place.
2. Keep it simple
If your PRD is so cumbersome or detailed you find yourself spending a significant amount of time updating it instead of working on the project, it's time to pare it back. PRDs should be high-level, at-a-glance documents that guide the process, and it should be easy to update them on a daily or weekly basis.
Fight the temptation to include all of your project documentation within the PRD. A PRD explains what’s being done, not how it’s being done. With Notion, you can attach your wireframes, images, mockups, user stories, personas, and other project docs to your PRD without them distracting from its main purpose. You can even make use of Notion's synced block feature to make sure changes you make in your other project docs get carried over to your PRD without having to update them separately.
3. Optimize team collaboration
Collaboration can be a double-edged sword. The best, most innovative products come from the varied thinking and experiences of diverse teams. But often, companies will unintentionally overwhelm employees in the name of collaboration with too many meetings and too many lines of communication.
PRDs aren’t supposed to be a roadmap solely for the person leading the project; they’re intended to be collaborative documents, so think of your PRD as an opportunity to improve and optimize collaboration with your team. Solicit their feedback throughout the product development process and make sure they know their ideas and opinions are valued and important.
Notion can help you gather input from your team and stakeholders and promote better collaboration within your company. You can include your project team and show you value their contributions in a variety of ways, such as using tags to call attention to items you want input on, soliciting opinions through upvotes, inviting them to leave comments.
Since Notion makes project communication easy and keeps it all in one place, you can streamline your collaborative efforts. For example, an issue that may have resulted in a back-and-forth email thread or another meeting on the calendar can instead be a quick async conversation in the comments of your PRD, giving your team more time to focus on work.
Bring more successful products to fruition with Notion PRD templates
A good PRD template can help guide the build of your product. A great one, combined with the right tools and effective collaboration, can help you build more successful, innovative products. And you don’t have to start from scratch. These Notion PRD templates and resources can help you begin customizing a PRD that’s perfect for your projects.