Want to create a technical specification document for a project, product, or system? But don’t know how to start it? Such documentation is necessary for creating effective plans for projects.
Worry not. This blog will guide you on how to write a technical specification document. That’s not all. We will also share a technical specification document template to use for creating these documents.
Table of Content
What is a Technical Specification Document?
A company, along with its product managers, defines the technical requirements first whenever it works on a project, product, or system.
By technical requirements, I mean:
- Technical specifications and design
- Development process
- Business requirements
- Internal standards
- Best practices
- Work involved
- Timeline of features, projects, or services
The documents in which all this information gets laid out are called technical specification documents. It also has other names like:
- Technical design document
- Software design documentation
- Engineering documentation
Who writes these documents? Most of the time, it’s engineers who are either building a solution or will implement it. But, for larger projects, technical leads, project leads, senior engineers, or product managers also get involved in creating these documents.
So, how to write this documentation? Find that out in the next section.
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How to Write Technical Specification Documents?
The header is the first thing you will include in the documentation. It will consist of the project name, the date, the author of the document, and contributing engineering team members in the project.
Here add a summary of the project and share links to external documents. Share your project specifications, marketing, and engineering documents, which will provide a context to the documentation.
What kind of general approach will you take in this project? Give a summary of that in this section.
Also, share a rough estimate of the overall project completion time and its size.
Goals and Product Requirements
Product managers define the technical requirements and project goals. Having clear goals is crucial to make the project successful. Hence, have a clear idea of what problems you are trying to solve through this new product.
Are all the project stakeholders on the same page? Many times, teams don’t create any consensus among each other when deciding a goal. It causes engineering team members to go in a different direction as there was no clear plan on who is supposed to do what.
To ensure that this doesn’t happen, product managers should create and share SOPs to work collaboratively in the same direction.
This section covers what you will build and how much the system can handle? It’s about sharing the technical behaviors of the new product and its limitations.
The focus has been laid on being detail-oriented and specific. For this, product managers may determine SLAs (service level agreement), capacity, and failure tolerance of the project.
Out of Scope
Here, you will cover everything that’s off the table. Share all the features that aren’t going to get included in the final product and the internal process which you won’t be part of in the project.
This section is essential as it will prevent unwanted work and misunderstandings between team members and other stakeholders. You can also name this section as non-goals.
List all the unresolved issues and TBD (to be determined) questions in this section whenever you write for technical specs.
Explain the solutions to your target audience in this section. The level of detail is up to the product managers to decide.
Every sub-system, new technology choice, and standard should have its sub-section. Also, share whatever other options you are considering. You can even create a new section for it under the name “Other options considered.”
Give a recap of your proposed approach in this section. Provide an easy to read bullet points of all the systems that will get created or changed throughout the project cycle.
Whenever there is a change in data storage, list them here, even if it is a minor change. You can also add UML diagrams or provide complete schemas in this section.
Create a consensus within the engineering team regarding what kind of data you will store in this section, how much, and how relational it should be. Work out on details later.
Security and Privacy
When working on a new product, it’s essential to think about customer data protection, personal information, encryption, and attack vectors. Product managers may share their thoughts about this in this section.
Describe your testing strategy in this section. It should cover unit and integration tests, manual test plans, and automated test suites.
Deployment and Rollout
What kind of logistics and order of preparation are required for the following release of the new product. All of this will get covered in this section. Also, include configuration management, secrets management, database changes, migrations, and sign-off process.
What if a customer hates a feature? Or there is a failed integration. Maybe something went wrong with the deployment of the system.
Is it possible to roll back to the previous system? What metrics and alerts should we observe?
Explain all of these in this section.
Monitoring and Logging
Explain how you will answer business-level questions regarding the impact and benefit of different features of the ultimate product.
Explain how you will answer business-level questions regarding the impact and benefit of different features of the final product.
Long Term Support
Include answers for the questions like:
- Who will maintain this software in the future?
- What will be the long-term costs for supporting the product?
- What happens if essential people leave the company, are there any plans to transfer their knowledge?
Timeline and Components
Give a rough estimation of task completion, by the product team, in day-sized estimates. Here is an example, the product team implements all the X features: ~4 person-days.
Be realistic in your goals. Adopt actual person-calendar-days and don’t be theoretical like, “if we are completely focused..” estimates. Add padding for risks, integrations, and meetings. Cover the tasks required for all teams, not just your own.
Ready to start working on your first documentation? In the next section, I will share four templates for tech spec documentation to help you get started.
Free Technical Specification Documentation Templates
IT Technical Specification Template
This technical spec template is designed for creating detailed IT project reports. It includes addressing technical projects, system updates, and infrastructure issues.
The template has sections for adding project overview, requirements and specifications, and resource needs. The excel template comes with a simple layout and can be edited as per your project requirements.
Download IT Technical Specification Template
Website Technical Specifications Template
With this technical spec template, you can list all the requirements for your website project. Even add those related to content management, navigation, design, and security.
This tech spec template gives room to add detailed comments and a column to assign a tracking number for every requirement.
You can even expand this template and add more requirements by copy-pasting the number of sections you need.
Download Website Technical Specifications Template
Technical Requirements Document Template
You can use this technical requirement document template for any of your projects. This template provides a basic outline with an easy-to-read format. Users can list their functional, security, and reporting requirements.
Download Technical Specs Template
Software Technical Specs Template
This technical specs template is a Word document and comes with traditional outline formatting. Users can create a comprehensive document to explain project scope, user stories, product features, dependencies and assumptions, system features, interface requirements, and another functional spec.
This tech spec template even has a separate section for glossary and appendix.
Download Software Technical Specs Template
Apart from the templates, you can adopt the best technical documentation software for your business and get started with writing technical documentation.
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A functional specification is a document used for describing a product’s intended capabilities, appearance, and interactions with users in detail. It may also contain a description of user tasks, dependencies on other products, and usability criteria.
When additional functionality, features, requirements, or work are added in product specs without any authorization, that’s what we call scope creep.
Here are some key items that are often included in this documentation:
- Revision log
- Executive summary
- Assumptions, risks, and dependencies
Here are the steps that you can follow to write excellent documentation:
- Create an outline for your software requirements specification. You can even use the SRS template
- Start with a purpose
- Give an overview of what you will build
- Detail your specific requirements
- Get approval for the SRS
Here are the steps that you can follow to write an exceptional product specifications sheet:
- Define the problem
- Understand customer input
- Include your entire business in the discussion. Stakeholders should have to say and will be beneficial in the development process
- Choose which product specifications to include
- Conduct a user testing
- Revised based on what works and doesn’t works for your users
Now that you understand how to write technical specification documentation, you will now need software to help you get started. CloudTutorial knowledge base software is simple and easy to use that you can adopt for your KB needs.
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