Of all the documents you create while developing a new product or product extension the Market Requirements Document (MRD) is most important of all. First, the MRD defines the overall target market. It also captures the market expectations for product attributes. Meeting these expectations is critical to increasing the odds of success in the marketplace.
What Does an MRD Look Like?
Your MRD can take many forms. It can be a simple document, a wiki, a spreadsheet, a unique software tool, or something else you devise to fulfill this important step in your process. The potential of the project will dictate the form your MRD should take.
The Core of the Market Requirements Document
There are essentially two things at the core of your MRD:
1 – A clear definition of your target market. This is basically a vivid picture of your potential buyer and user profiles. What are the key reasons someone would use the product?
2 – Defined problem scenarios – What are the main challenges your users face that will cause them to turn to your product. These likely will vary between buyers and end users. You’ll want to develop problem scenarios for each.
Functional and Non-Functional Requirements
Requirements that must be dealt with in the Market Requirements Document fall into two categories: function and non-functional. Here’s the difference.
Functional requirements cover capabilities that have interactivity with the user. They deal with specific high-level functions a user may want to perform.
Non-functional requirements are concerned with design restrictions and performance factors involved with the product. Performance factors cover how well a product must perform. Design restrictions revolve around how much a product must support.
Common Non-Functional Requirement Categories
There are many different categories of non-functional requirements including many that are industry specific. Here are some of the most common categories:
- Physical requirement – Maximum and minimum dimensions, weight, packaging, sturdiness, etc.
- Environmental requirements – the environment in which a product must be operated or stored.
- Performance requirements – This category can include such things as expected speed for specific operations, what are the lifetime expectations for use, etc.
- International requirements – where the product will be sold and used. What are the language, currency, power supply, and specific localized needs?
- Compatibility Requirements – How does the product need to work with other products?
- Documentation requirements – What are the types, formats, and delivery methods for documentation?
- Support requirements – What must be available to customers to help them with installation, repairs, operation, payments, maintenance, and disposal of the product?
- Legal, Regulatory, and Compliance requirements – What laws, rules, and government or agency-related requirements impact the product?
- Distribution and Packaging – What is required to distribute the product and how does it need to be packaged?
What to Include in a Successful MRD
There are essentially six key elements of a successful MRD.
- As mentioned above: You must include a definition of your target market, a vivid picture of your potential buyer and user profiles.
- A comprehensive list of market requirements the solution will need to fulfill.
- Suggested quantitative measures of success for each requirement.
- A prioritized list of requirements from your market’s point of view.
- A clear focus on the market problem you are trying to solve, not on your planned solution.
- A timeframe for product introduction and a supporting rationale.