Electronic Product Requirements Guide

10 Step Guide to Collecting Your Product’s Requirements  

Once a product concept has gone through the high-level System Architecture development and System Design specifics, the next step is to determine all possible requirements of the product. This is VPI’s 10-step electronic product requirements guide. Carefully review the following details to address potential issues early in the development process. The next ten steps will help you collect your product requirements efficiently.

List product objectives such as:

  • Form factor (physical look, shape, touch, and feel)
  • Fit (how it assembles or attaches to other assemblies)
  • Function (what it does)
  • Target bill of materials cost
  • Power consumption
  • Heat dissipation

Discuss concept and alternative trade-offs such as:

  • Size
  • Weight
  • Cost
  • Second sourcing
  • Upgrade path
  • Tool costs
  • Complexity
  • Risk
  • Testability
  • Manufacturability

Specify the required use cases and possible future use cases

Detail the functionality of the device:

  • How will it be used in a variety of scenarios?
  • How will it interact with users, a contextual environment, host devices, etc.?

Describe the user interface:

  • Buttons 
  • Displays
  • Commands
  • Prompts
  • Messages

Where appropriate, use pictures. State diagrams or menu trees are useful for describing system navigation.

Identify the external interfaces:

Define each interface between the project and other systems, specifying the physical interface, communication media, protocol, file formats, etc.

List the performance requirements including measurement criteria, such as:

  • Memory Size
  • Power consumption
  • Sleep state
  • Idle state
  • Active states
  • Output Power
  • Range of operation
  • Noise Immunity
  • Special Timing Characteristics
  • FCC and UL qualified
  • Other Regulatory Qualifications

Include any applicable studies or whitepapers.

List components that may require special attention and add cost to the design. These may include:

  • ASIC
  • FPGA
  • Analog IC
  • MMIC
  • Custom display interfaces
  • Custom antenna design
  • Tooling
  • Test Fixtures

Specify the environmental and physical constraints such as:

  • Size
  • Weight
  • Power
  • Materials
  • Operational environment conditions
  • Storage environment conditions

Describe the design for X criteria. For example, the system is to be designed for the following:

  • Testability
  • Extensibility
  • Modularity
  • Signal and Noise
  • Transient Conditions
  • Steady-state Conditions
  • FCC Qualification
  • UL/CE/CSA/ETL/RoHS/International Qualification
  • Ruggedness
  • Fault Tolerance
  • Reliability
  • Power Management
  • Corrosion
  • Radiation Hardening
  • Volume Manufacturability

Clearly outlining requirements for the developing product provides the necessary details to progress smoothly to the prototype stage.