Understanding the Differences Between BRDs and PRDs: A Guide for New Product Managers

Jaideep Tibrewala
4 min readNov 20, 2023


In the dynamic world of product management, two documents often become the bedrock of successful product development: the Business Requirements Document (BRD) and the Product Requirements Document (PRD). While they may sound similar, and many companies use them interchangibly, they serve distinct purposes, and understanding the difference between them is crucial for any aspiring product manager.

In my experience as a Product Leader, I’ve found it essential that these documents are created separately, as the stakeholders for each of them are different. But finally, the two need to come together to define and confirm the desired output, and it’s absolutely essential for the PM, Engineers and the QA team aligned to the project/feature to be in sync on both the documents until the final output is moved to production.

What is a Business Requirements Document (BRD)?

The BRD is the strategic document that outlines the business objectives and needs. It is often broad and high-level, focusing on the what and the why of a project or product functionality. The BRD is typically crafted by business analysts or senior stakeholders who have a deep understanding of the business’s needs, market trends, and customer demands. It serves as a declaration of intent, a document that states what the business needs are and why they are essential. Having business metrics, even at an estimate level, gives clarity on impact and help with prioritization in an environment where multiple teams are working on multiple BRDs and customer requirements relevant to their line of business.

Example: Imagine a financial services company that wants to revamp their existing mobile app. The BRD will outline the market need for such an app, the competitive landscape, the business objectives from the revamped app (like increasing customer engagement, reducing operational costs, differentiated user experience), and the impact on the company’s strategic goals. An estimate of financial impact from the revamp will provide business justification to the time and effort that needs to be put in to achieve the business objectives.

A sample BRD Template can be found at this link — BRD Template

What is a Product Requirements Document (PRD)?

In contrast, the PRD is more tactical and detailed. It translates the vision and objectives outlined in the BRD into actionable plans for the product team. The PRD focuses on the how of the project or product functionality, detailing specific features, business rules and functionalities, user flows, and performance metrics that need to be built. This document is typically prepared by the product manager, who bridges the gap between the strategic vision of the BRD and the technical execution. This is also where some input from the design and development teams need to be solicited so that design and technical challenges can be identified at an early stage.

Example: Continuing with our revamped mobile app, the PRD would detail features like biometric login, real-time transaction alerts, and user-friendly interfaces and experience, customer engagement touchpoints, and app metrics to be collected. It would specify technical requirements, such as integration with existing APIs and backend systems and compliance with financial regulations, amongst other things.

A sample PRD template can be found at this link — PRD Template

When and Why: The Sequence and Significance

Understanding when to use each document is as important as knowing their differences. The sequence usually starts with the BRD. It’s essential to first grasp the business needs and objectives before jumping into product specifics. The BRD acts as a guiding star, ensuring that the product aligns with the broader business strategy.

Once the BRD is approved and the business needs are clear, the product manager steps in to draft the PRD. The PRD is where the rubber meets the road — it’s about turning strategy into actionable items for the design and development teams. It’s also the bible that QA engineers need to follow to build their test scripts and ensure they are the gatekeepers of a quality product that meets business and product team requirements.

Its essential for product managers to accept the scope of the BRD, or use their 360-degree understanding of the product and it’s long term vision to push back the stakeholders of the BRD, and request them to come back with clearly defined and realistic expectations.

Without a BRD, the PRD risks becoming a list of features without a clear understanding of their strategic importance. Conversely, a BRD without a PRD is merely a set of aspirations with no roadmap for realization.

Example: If our fintech company rushes into drafting a PRD for the mobile app without a well-thought-out BRD, they might end up with a feature-rich app that doesn’t necessarily align with the strategic business goals. Or worse, they might overlook critical compliance requirements that only become apparent when considering the business objectives.

In conclusion,

The BRD and PRD are not just documents; they are the compass and map for your product journey. The BRD sets the direction, ensuring that your product aligns with business goals and customer needs. The PRD then charts the path, outlining the features and functionalities that will bring this vision to life. For new and aspiring product managers, mastering the art of crafting and differentiating these documents is a critical step towards ensuring that your product not only meets but exceeds business and customer expectations.