Writing Mobile App Product Requirements Document? The Best Tips To Follow
From mobile app idea conceptualization to the app development, the detailed vision is all-important to make the app a next big hit. Without any written document, it’s difficult to vividly express the unique app idea to the development company to whom the project will be outsourced for development or the client for fundraising.
It’s no surprise that you can make the developers build the app or persuade the client for investment with a verbal description of the product, but it’s guaranteed that the end product built will never be the same which you have thought of.
Conclusively, there will be a waste of time, money and efforts because enough detail is not provided during app idea explanation. Such misunderstanding and end results can be avoided with clear, concise, and precise documentation of the app idea. It doesn’t matter whether you want to build a simple mobile application or comprehensive app, the Product Requirements Document is a part of the app development process which communicates everything related to the app idea.
In this piece, let’s first look at what is the mobile app product requirement document:
The product requirement documentation is the major cornerstone of the app development journey which defines features, functionalities, and specification of every stage of the development phase. It’s a guideline for the developers and designers to implement the things accordingly without any discrepancy. The bigger picture of the future product helps in finding out the time, budget and resources it requires, establishes good communication for the project, and eliminate the potential hazards.
The documentation is not a one-time process, instead, it’s a continuous process which iterates as the project continue. It’s a brilliant way to show a solution to every problem, and never lead the team to make incorrect assumptions.
What are the essentials of the product bible?
Goals and purpose
The section describes the product you want to get built, the problem it will solve, the basic features that solve major problems, and the person who will get benefited from the product, in general. It’s just precise and a high-level description of the app idea that gives a complete understanding of the product to the development team.
The vivid picture of the target users who are going to use the product enables the developers to build the product wearing the end user’s lens, which also mitigates the risk of app rejection by the target user base. It’s good to describe the target audience and their needs which will be fulfilled through the mobile application.
The target audience demographics such as age, gender, occupation, geographic location, and education must be defined to answer every question related to users’ biography and geography to the developers.
It’s a core of every product requirement document that enlists the list of all the features that will be a part of the product. The detailed description includes mapping of all the functions that will be placed on various screens alongside prioritization, which keeps the developers and businesses on the same page. Also, specifying the initial set of features and the features that can be added in the near future is important that makes product scaling or replacement of the defined features plain-sailing.
The user stories are actually the high-level interaction of the end-users with the product, which should be illustrated in order to give the developers an overview of the technical requirements and create a good business case. See how? With user stories, the mobile app developers will have the feature’s description from the end-users perspective, which further helps in engineering the best content architecture and design so that the outstanding interaction design and user experience can be engineered.
One user story can be divided into multiple sub-stories to describe the features in detail and give the technical leader a sense of the tasks which are not even defined in the product requirements. The stories also ease the decision to keep or discard the feature in the initial version of the app.
This component of the document showcases the comprehensive list of all the screens where various functionalities will reside, and the flow of screens to streamline the navigation. The sitemap helps in mapping all the screens rightly so that the hierarchy between the related pages never makes encountering the connection across the mobile app screens ambiguous. While designing the systematic structure of the product, finding out the unnecessary components and the user flaws become a breeze.
The clear explanation regarding technology and technical aspects behind the product to develop and its capabilities makes it easier for the developers to get an overview of the technical expertise that the project will require. Try to be clear while outlining the technical specification of the product, but if you are unsure with complex technical aspects, then developers can help you. So stay open to suggestions and the feedback from the developers.
Basically, make certain to specify the following things- support for platform compatibility, support for OS version compatibility, maintenance requirements, particulars about services, server, and database, developer account credentials, and analytics system (If any).
Creating wireframe is another way to outline the app product requirements visually. The set of wireframes is a supplementary tool that provides the essential knowledge to the developers regarding how the screens will be connected, what and how the features will be placed, the app behavior when a new screen is opened and its impact on the user experience. It is used to give a detailed idea of the app with UI, so hand-drawing wireframes would work.
However, when the comprehensive app is to build, then preferring the designer to create the wireframes is a good practice to get the complicated schemes drawn.
Under the assumptions, all the expectations are set for the product to get true, once it will be built, are described on the grounds of the knowledge, expertise, and experience of the current market niche and target users. Mainly, presumptions include assumptions related to users, business, and technical resources.
The market trends are changing very fast and it can be harmful to the app if the app with required features is not launched in the market at the right time. To not miss a big hit, the constraints over time, resources, and budget must be put so that the app within the scope and budget will get developed in the defined time span. Additionally, the quality parameters and risk factors can be included in order to enable the development team to deal with the issues accordingly.
The list of sections in the product requirement document is actually the life savior for the final product that avoids unnecessary changes and tons of iterations. In addition to the elimination of ambiguity, the document gives a clear picture of the project scope, specs, schedule, and submission. It showcases the product designing is not as easy as it appears. Document writing must be approached in a specific way.
Here are the critical things that must be kept in mind before you start crafting the requirement document:
Make the app idea description easy-to-understand
While describing the product idea in a generalized way, it’s necessary to define the goal and purpose of the app in 1–2 sentences. The sentence should include core features that describe the readers what the app is about in a first glance.
Follow the sequence
Provide an example
Many times, the businesses like the features or UI of the apps available on the app store, and want to reflect the same in the app to be developed. Instead of explaining the similar thing to the developer through text, it’s better to review the app store and directly give the instances of the apps whose features the business like to have in the application.
Skip the minute detail of the product
Undeniably, the product requirement document should elucidate every app-related detail, even the trivial features, which is appreciable. But, the focus should be kept solely on the features and components only. The detailing doesn’t indicate determining the color of the buttons, or size of CTAs because the document writing is about the app’s features that solve the user’s problems. Concentrate on the things where the user must be able to do something in the mobile app.
Define the precedence
All the features in the app won’t have equal importance. Some features form the core of the app, while other features complement them, and the development of the features must be done the same way. The priority of the features must be informed to the developers so they build the features accordingly. The priority can be conveyed with “Must,” “Could,” “Should,” and “Won’t” words.
Including wireframes is a best practice
The wireframe is an optional section of the document writing, that’s often skipped by the businesses due to the extra investment of time, and efforts in its designing. But, complementing the text description with wireframes pays off at the end as it adds visual appeal to the document, and minimizes a lot of development time that otherwise goes into UI implementation during app development. It makes complete sense to draw the screens and map them.
Follow the rules while compiling tech specs
During the app delivery, it’s necessary to check whether the developed app is in compliance with all the technical requirements or not. In order to ensure the smooth app development and delivery process, the basic rules for writing the tech specs must be followed. It includes- writing technical specs in simple language, no generic or inaccurate phrase should be used, every function with its purpose must be described in detail, and technology stack requirements must be discussed and agreed.
The app development world has experienced the chaos without having a written document in place. The product requirements document creation has given a great sigh of relief to both the developers and the businesses. Be it a large project, or small-sized project, a certain level of documentation is necessary to avoid miscommunication, misunderstanding, and misapprehension of the app idea.
The document aims to make the development team to better understand and translate the app idea into a reality that solves the user problems; better comprehend the dependencies among technical entities; and provide assumptions, limitations, and schedule. It’s not essential to include every section in your product documentation and make it exhaustively detailed. Don’t be wary of too much detail, or too little detail, instead, create the document that becomes a reference point and a guideline to the developers to build a full-fledged solution. Also, don’t forget to review the document planned and written, else it will backfire you.
Let’s end the confusion and bring the clarity in your app idea requirements by following the tips for effective mobile app product requirement!
Note: The document writing is an ongoing process where the document will evolve, and you should keep the features that seem to work and then scrap the rest.