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Technical Requirements Document

Anyone will tell you that when the directions are not clear, the job never gets done. It does not matter if you are putting together a bed frame or a software system that needs to be coordinated between three different companies. The fact is, simple or complex, everyone involved in the creation of a product or process needs to understand precisely what is happening in order for all parties to be on the same page. How can a technical requirements document help us with this?

What is a Technical Requirements Document?

Think of a technical requirements document (or TRD) as the blueprint for what you are trying to build. It describes any technical aspects or issues that arise in product development within scientific, engineering, or technological fields. Because of the nature of these documents, though, not only must they be able to be read by experts, but laymen should understand them as well. This is because they detail how workflow should operate within the system that’s being implemented. 

What Is The Value Of A Technical Requirements Document?

Documentation is the foundation of any good business. A technical requirements document is the glue that keeps everything together when working on a project. It is the point in any project where the project goals and the entire vision are set in place allowing you and your team members to stay on the same page. A technical requirements document can cover many things, from determining budgets to understanding risk-management problems and solutions. It also explores communication options between teams throughout the project’s development. 

The technical requirements document is in many ways the central nervous system of any developing project, as without one, there would be nothing to help keep everything accounted for. Companies depend on technical requirement documents to keep everything running smoothly. It is crucial that this gets done properly, so working alongside a technical writer can be hugely beneficial.

Listed below are some tips that any good technical writer should have in their back pocket to consider when writing technical requirements documentation.

1. Keep it Readable and Concise

As stated before, not everyone who is reading this will be an engineer, so it is important to simplify your document, as well as not overwhelm your reader with information. We recommend using bullet points or an enumerated list while explaining step-by-step instructions, not unlike this part of the article. We also recommend adding pictures or diagrams wherever possible to alleviate explaining difficult processes. Also, remember to use simple words and phrasing that are not too technical. This helps facilitate a common understanding between all parties reading the document.

2. Detail Functionality

It seems a bit obvious, but it must be said. Just as these documents need to be able to be read by anyone, a technical requirements document needs to detail every available function of the system. In the document, there should always be a section devoted to functionality explaining exactly what testers and designers need to do to make sure the product runs smoothly.

Writing a Technical Requirements Document

3. Recognize Product Risks

Always keep in mind that something might go wrong with the product, even if you have provided all of the proper information. It can be helpful to add a section about the possible restraints or difficulties with said product. This details any standards that must be followed when installing the product and its expected life cycle. Depending on the product, it is also important to add information on errors that could occur during its lifecycle, as well as expected error codes and their meaning if applicable.

How To Write A Technical Requirements Document

Technical writers are responsible for accounting for everything, so keeping a checklist is always a great tactic for consolidating all of the necessary information. As they start the actual process of writing out the requirements document, it is smart to remember other outside aspects of the product or project, such as shareholders, competing companies, and resources that are required for the project’s completion. 

Below are a few tips that technical writers make use of to craft expert documentation:

1. Collect Your Information

One of the most important parts of a technical writer’s job is that all information runs through them. Sometimes, this means it will become tough to weed out what is important. Data is delivered to technical writers from all places, so they make sure to talk to everyone from designers to stakeholders to clear out any redundancies and make the document as concise and precise as possible.

2. Understand the Product’s Use

It is essential that technical writers recognize how a product is being used in the context of users’ wants and needs. It is not enough to merely say what the product does, one must sell the product as well. Look at collected data from customers’ usage of the product; it often helps to construct an overview of not only what consumers are using the product for, but also how the company might change the product in the future to better meet the needs of the customer. Documents that specifically address this are often referred to as product requirements documentation.

3. Tie it All Together

Technical requirements documents are made for the user’s benefit. Always remember to cater the writing to them. The best way to do that is to show problems the user encounters and how the product solves them in the document. This guarantees a job well done and can promote customer satisfaction.

It also helps to define which parameters of the job each team is responsible for. It is recommended to use bulleted or enumerated lists to keep an even flow of information. Along with this, one might create a prototype that shows the finished product. That way the user sees the product in action with their own eyes.

4. Think of Systems

Close-Up Image of Two People Shaking Hands After Completing A Successful Technical Requirements Document

While writing any technical requirements document, it is important to think about the systems put into the product that help detail the quality of service and requirements of the user. This could be anything from the product’s lifespan to how to run it most efficiently. This depends on the number of team members available at any given time. 

The important thing to think about is giving as much relevant information as possible about every possible factor. The more the user understands about the product, the more likely they will be satisfied .

What Are Some Of The Requirements of a Technical Requirements Document?

Not every technical requirements document will detail the same thing. While everything above should be considered when writing the document, these tips are still very general. TRDs span multiple industries, from manufacturing to software engineering, so it is important to understand that some technical requirements will be more useful than others, depending on the specific job.

Listed below are some examples of what a TRD might focus on:

1. User Accessibility

This is fairly straightforward. User accessibility should be a consideration in most, if not all, of TDRs, as users will need to know how to use your product, especially in the face of certain unseen obstacles. Things like audio subtitles are an example of added accessibility if a video is embedded in the technical requirements document.

2. Information Security

For those who find themselves working in software, a technical requirements document will likely include notes on encryption and security. Users will need to know how to secure user credentials within the system, and how to protect their information and data while using your software.

3. Errors

Information on potential errors is written differently depending on the industry. For software, these requirements would be for detecting a human error in a product’s code and implementing systems to not crash the entire product. If the documentation is for a physical product, the requirements might deal with troubleshooting or some additional information on the product’s parts which could occasionally be faulty.

4. Maintenance

Not every product will last forever, but parties can always try to fix it. Your technical requirements document often benefits from some section about proper machine maintenance, as well as addressing problems that might arise further down the line in the product’s lifecycle. 

5. Industry Standards

It’s bad for the company’s business if a product can’t live up to the industry standards it is made for. This section of a technical requirements document is for informing users how to implement the product so it can safely and effectively follow security and operation requirements.


The importance of a good technical requirements document is simple. TRDs describe any technical aspects or issues that might arise in product development. Technical writers must consider everything and anything that goes into the creation and implementation of the product, which means a heavy dose of both research and writing ability. Also, remember to always keep in touch with teams who worked on the product. That way, you can consolidate every piece of information you will possibly need to help in developing these documents. 

A Stack of Accepted Papers as Part of a Successful Technical Requirements Document

EDC Technical Requirements Document Services

Whether you need a single technical writer for a brief project or a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation, the quality of our work is guaranteed for you. Our clients work closely with an Engagement Manager from one of our 30 local offices for the entire length of your project at no additional cost. Contact us at (800) 221-0093 or to get started.

Written by Dominic Acquista