Why Technical Specification Is Still Important

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Why Technical Specification Is Still Important | “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

You can always count on Founding Fathers for a word of wisdom, even if we’re talking about modern times. But the truth is that no undertaking, whether it’s building a road or going grocery shopping, is set to succeed without a plan. Especially if we’re talking about a software project that comprises multiple phases and a team of developers.

The key to effective implementation is to stick with the schedule and budget set specifically for the project. To do that, you need to create technical specifications for the whole team to be in sync.

But how can a technical spec bode well for a software project, service, or a particular feature? This is why we’re here. Our post will dwell on the importance of technical documentation for your business and the process of creating a TS document.

Let’s dive into it.

Okay, But What Is Technical Specification?

First, let’s sink our teeth into the basics. Essentially, documentation is material that includes official information or that serves as a record. A technical specification (or documentation) is a document that features a set of product requirements so that the result of the process will satisfy the objectives. Usually, a project or product manager creates the documentation prior to the development stage. 

Specification documentation is the backbone of your entire digital project, especially if we’re talking about a web or mobile solution. As software engineers focus on solving technical problems, their knee-jerk reflex may be to jump straight into writing code. However, it may take a toll on a project, since most techies cannot develop a clear vision of what the project should accomplish.

 

Therefore, crafting a technical spec enhances the odds of delivering a successful project that all stakeholders are satisfied with. 

Why Is Technical Documentation Important?

Technical specs are beneficial for each line of the development process. Whether these are engineers, teams, or stakeholders, documentation is the glue that keeps them all together. Let’s have a closer look at the benefits. 

For developers

By writing a technical spec, engineers document every project feature. Therefore, they have no chance of losing or missing anything. Also, this essential step helps them grasp a broader view of the solution scope. The risk of failure is kept to a minimum since the developer is well-versed in the requirements and therefore works within the plan. And a cherry on top – a technical doc saves you from hammering the point home. It means that you won’t have to repeatedly decipher your design to multiple team players and stakeholders. 

For a team

One of the major benefits of functional documentation is the possibility to chart out the project activities for each team member. It also means that everyone can stay updated on the project requirements, which eliminates guesswork or potential misunderstanding between team members. New hires can brief themselves on the product and partake in the implementation further on. Also, web or mobile app development that is based on a specification means not only acting according to requirements, plan, and budget, but also keeping a cool head. A chaotic approach to a project, frequent changes in assumptions, or a lack of vision for the final product is not only a waste of time and money but, above all, energy – both for the client and the team. Therefore, the right specification allows the team to work more efficiently and professionally.

For a project

Paying due diligence to a technical spec will ultimately drive you to a competition-worthy product. First of all, this document outlines the technical angles of the project. It means that you have all of the functionality jotted down in a single place. Secondly, technical documentation helps you get a clear estimation of the effort needed and prevent any risks or snags. It also has a great impact on the speed to market, since big projects can progress faster.  Following the implementation, it helps alleviate headaches that materialized within the products, as well as shed light on retrospectives.

Nailing Tech Specification: Step by step

Writing a technical document is a tough call. However, this feat can be pulled off provided you’re equipped with decent technical writing skills and wording. Therefore, the universal formula says that you should avoid ambiguous general terms and turn to solid terminology instead. 

Your TS document, as a result, should include the following:

  • Table of contents: it makes it more navigable for the sake of time
  • Specifications: overview, goals and product requirements, out of scope, components, etc,
  • Assigning titles (signature blocks for authorities)
  • Term definitions

Now let’s proceed with further guidance notes and have a quick overview of the main component parts.

Analysis

First of all, it’s necessary to define the type of specification needed. This can be an open technical spec document or a closed one. An open spec leaves some room to maneuver to the entire entity, while a closed one limits acceptable tools and requirements. 

Requirements

After that, the software engineer defines if the stated requirements fit the product. The requirement specification calls for a perfect balance of being succinct and in-depth. Therefore, the document should feature the essentials of your product with no lyrical digressions. Here are some main pointers:

  • Use concise sentences that cut to the chase.
  • Avoid using third-person pronouns and determiners that refer to something previously mentioned. This leads to ambiguity and distracts attention from the subject.
  • Include the definition of terms, since tech specs abound in professional jargonisms and tech terms.
  • Create the table of contents. It’s an essential coordination tool to ensure the document includes everything required and can be easily navigated by other team members.

Next, the actual specification is outlined. It includes detailed information on technical design, development, and procedures linked with the requirements mentioned above.

Putting it all together

Finally, after going through all the main points, the document needs to be completed. This is achieved by assigning a title and a control number. The signature block should take its place in the document as well as set up authority responsible for making amendments in the document.

The Bottom Line

A comprehensive technical specification is half the battle when fighting for a successful project. Although it won’t set it up for success directly, a TS document gives you a panoramic view of the project scope, thus reducing the tie wasting and failure rates.

If you’re having some difficulties with crafting documentation internally, we recommend contacting a professional to make the most of this important project prerequisite.