When a customer or market problem is identified it may signal the need for a new product or service.  Organizations that identify and analyze a problem, design an innovative solution, conceptualize and test the idea and then if appropriate, develop and bring it to market are best poised for successfully delivering innovation.

Capture Market Requirements

Understanding and capturing the requirements needed to solve the problem is the purpose of an MRD (market requirements document). Companies who keep a pulse on the market and take a customer-centric approach create MRDs.  Product centric companies who build a feature before understanding the problem and typically take the “if we build it, they will come” approach often skip this important step.

An MRD can serve as the first step in bringing an innovative idea to life.   The MRD reveals the information necessary to create an innovative solution to the problem.  If we take each word on its own merit, we can gain some insight into an MRD.

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Market is the Key Word in Market Requirements

Gather Market Requirements to Define New Products and Services, customer, customer-centric

Use Market Requirements to Develop New Products and Services

The first and most important word for product innovation is “market”. Classically defined, a market is “a group of consumers/customers interested in solving a particular problem, has the resources to purchase a solution, and are permitted by laws or other regulations to acquire the solution.”  Personas, both user and buyer, are often created to represent the market. So the first step in developing an MRD to specify and understand the market.

Requirement is something that is required; a necessity. Something obligatory; a prerequisite.  In the world of products solving problems, a requirement identifies a capability, characteristic, or quality factor of a problem that solution must meet. These requirements can be functional (observable capabilities of the solution that is needed by the user to address the problem), performance (capacity, speed, integration, compliance, etc.) and/or non-functional (customization, implementation, compatibility).  A well-crafted MRD conveys the context of and a scenario for the problem and the requirements to solve it.

 

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5 Steps for Documenting Market Requirements

Lastly document, “something tangible that records communication or facts with the help of marks, words, or symbols.” The solution for the market must be well documented.  It helps to have a consistent format for an MRD.

These five steps will help you make headway on producing a usable MRD:

  1. State the business problem the potential or existing customer is having that will be addressed
  2.  Identify the functional, performance, timing, pricing, and placement requirements.
  3. Create the scenario. Using a story format communicate what the persona is trying to achieve, the challenge(s) they face, how often, and the value of a solution.
  4. Clarify the cause of the problem, how the persona deals with problem today, and why that approach does or doesn’t work. Not sure how a persona differs from roles and profiles, read more.
  5. Specify what will be achieved, how success will be measured, what it takes to attain the success, the resources needed and the timeframe in which the product must be market ready to be competitive.

A well-constructed MRD helps the designer imagine the solution, to see the problem from the customer’s frame of reference.  As a result, the design team can develop an innovative compelling solution that meets the specified requirements. As you can see gathering market requirements takes conducting research.  If you don’t have this capability in-house, tap external expertise.

 

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