Best Practices for Defining Product Requirement Templates

Posted By: Michelle Duerst

product requirement best practices template

Greater Success with PLM

Gartner cites that a Product Lifecycle Management solution can lead to “improvements in R&D productivity, as high as 70% based on percentage of R&D project launched over a year, that yield sellable products.”[1]

What determines R&D success?

Gartner states, “Manufacturers of formulated packaged goods prioritize product definitions involving formula development and packaging design, along with the processes involved, to reliably yield products that comply with a broad variety of regulations.”[2]

Product requirements are essentially blueprints of a finished product.  A clearly defined set of product requirements can streamline decision-making and development processes.


1.  How long does it take to create and manage?

PLM solutions should come with best practice product requirements.  These will be a starting point, but will not include the high level of detail you need.  Your first set of requirements will take the most time to create.  Not only do you need to define the actual product requirements, but you must also configure an approval workflow.  Each new requirement created from an existing template will follow this same workflow, creating a traceability log for green-lighting projects.


2.   Who provides the information in the Product Requirement?

Product Requirements are highly detailed and organized in defined hierarchies.  These hierarchies should also include strategies to increase sales by focusing on the customer’s needs and future demands.

““But the growing theme for 2013 is more consumer-centric technologies. By this we mean those that impact what drives the consumer to the store shelf and what the experience will be at the moment of making a purchase decision. We expect to see not only high-impact technologies exerting their influence two to 10 years in the future, but also more of them. This is a significant theme in the Hype Cycle as shipping becomes more social and more visceral to orchestrate and optimize product/packaging development initiatives, from planning through end of life.”[3] 

We’ve listed summaries that should be included for each main group.  The actual detail will be quite substantial and will have contributions from multiple teams. 


  • Evaluated past product launches to contrast successes and failures
  • Provide market research
  • Determine future trends
  • Define product’s key attributes
  • Define best markets and demographics
  • Create recommendations for certifications, allergen exclusions, etc.  (Organic, Kosher, Halal, Gluten-Free, Nut Free, etc.)
  • Target specific claims to increase sales 
  • Establish a measurable goal for profitability, accounting for all associated costs
  • Define best launch dates to increase brand recognition and loyalty
  • Create initial marketing campaign with packaging, artwork, and labeling requirements

Legal:  Evaluate the viability of marketing’s requirements with:

  • Compliance issues for the selected markets and required documentation
  • Claims to be listed on packaging
  • Compliant labeling requirements
  • Testing and quality processes


3.  How do you communicate the initial requirements?

After creating and approving your product requirements, you need an effective way to communicate it to your R&D team.  They need instant visibility and a method to act on the information provided.

You can expedite the process and ensure standardization by creating product requirement templates.

4.  How does your R&D team use these requirements?

The requirements will be used throughout multiple stages of development, but specifically to:

Leverage Database

Ideally, your R&D team should be able to run advanced queries on your formulation central data repository. Searches should allow great specificity and immediately display results of archived formulations meeting some or all of the new requirement criteria.  Results should be actionable, providing R&D with an immediate view of the formulation to begin development.

Compare and Contrast

The requirements should be visible throughout the entire development cycle, with the ability to compare both the marketing brief and compliance requirements.

Track Variances and Finalize

The Product Requirement may begin as a blueprint, but the development results and variances are tracked as Product Specifications.  As a best practice, the transition should be seamless and the latest version available to all project stakeholders.

[1] Source: Gartner, “PLM Drivers and Software Needs in Formulated Packaged Goods Industries” by Marc Halpern, Janet Suleski, Michael Burkett, and Michael Shanker, December 2012

[2] Source:  Gartner, “Hype Cycle for Process Manufacturing and PLM, 2013” byLeif Eriksen Simon F Jacobson Janet Suleski Marc Halpern, July 2013

[3] Source:  Gartner, Hype Cycle for Consumer Goods, 2013 by Don Scheibenreif and Dale Hagemeyer, July 2013