Question: "At my company there are many diverse opinions, particularly by members of the development team, on anything related to the Market Requirements Document (MRD). Can Blackblot provide an outline that will bring clarity to this topic?"
Answer: The following MRD Mini-FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) provides answers to the most common questions on the topic of the MRD.
Q: "What does MRD stand for?"
A: MRD means Market Requirements Document.
Q: "Is the MRD a process or a deliverable?"
A: The MRD in itself is not a process; it is a deliverable. The MRD is the main deliverable and is the output of the Product Planning process.
Q: "Which corporate department has ownership and responsibility for the MRD?"
A: The Product Management department. Specifically, the MRD is not the responsibility of the Marketing or Development departments.
Q: "Who writes the MRD?"
A: The Product Planner writes the MRD.
Q: "Which process is used to gather information in the preparation of an MRD?"
A: The Voice of the Customer (VOC) is a process that is often used for eliciting needs from customers. The VOC is a sub-process within the Product Planning process.
Q: "What type of information does the MRD convey?"
A: The MRD expresses the market problem in a way which allows developers to offer a solution.
Q: "How does the MRD express the Market Problem?"
A: The MRD manifests a methodology of expressing users' needs. The most common methodology used in an MRD to express user needs is Market Requirements.
Q: "Do user requirements, customer requirements, business requirements or marketing requirements mean the same as market requirements?"
A: No, they are all different types of requirements. Market requirements are the only type of requirements in an MRD.
Q: "What is a market requirement?"
A: A market requirement is an aggregate unit of information which represents with sufficient detail the functionality that is sought to address a specific facet of a particular market problem.
Q: "Do market requirements describe the product's features, physical attributes or technology?"
A: No, they do not.
Q: "Do market requirements change when the solution changes?"
A: Market requirements do not change or expire when the technology or the solution evolves. For the most part, market requirements stand the test of time and the way that they are written fundamentally does not change over the course of time.
Q: "Is the MRD used only to develop software or technology products?"
A: The MRD is not a tool confined specifically to software development or any other technology product. The MRD and the methodology for preparing market requirements can be used to plan any type of business or consumer product or service.
Q: "What information is contained in the MRD?"
A: The MRD contains a description of the market opportunity, market problem and the resulting market requirements. The biggest component of the MRD is the market requirements which detail the functionality sought by the collective users to address their market problem.
Q: "Does the MRD contain any marketing, business or product information?"
A: The MRD does not contain assessments and information that are part of a Product Requirements Document (PRD), Business Case or Market Plan.
Q: "Is the MRD a rigid document that is used only in a Waterfall approach to software development?"
A: No. The MRD can embody a rigidity or agility mindset, regardless of the type of product and regardless of the development methodology that is being used by the development team.
Q: "In the product delivery process, what is the subsequent deliverable that follows the MRD?"
A: The Product Requirements Document (PRD).
Q: "What is a PRD and what does the PRD express?"
A: The PRD is a high level description of the solution, intended use, and the set of features the solution provides that address the market problem and satisfy needs.
Q: "How does the PRD express the solution?"
A: Similar to the MRD, the PRD manifests a methodology of expressing product features. The most common methodology used in the PRD to express product features is Product Requirements.
Q: "Who writes the PRD?"
A: The Product Architect writes the PRD.
Q: "Must a PRD follow the MRD?"
A: The MRD is a tool in Product Management (problem space). When dealing with software development, the developers in Engineering (solution space) can use a PRD or Product-Backlog or anything else they want and work according to any software development method, but this does not affect the MRD or product management practices.