Developing a great website necessitates comprehensive planning and organizing. It is the only way you can guarantee that it will reach your goals accurately and offer a high level of customer satisfaction.
At this point, technical specifications are very beneficial. If you want to introduce a major new feature, redesign a website, or build a completely new website, you need a technical specification document. Let’s dive deep into the concept of such documentation.
Table of Content
What is a Technical Specification Document?
A technical specification document outlines the necessities for a product, system, or project. Here, technical specification comprises the data on technical development, processes, and design linked to the requirements it describes. Such a document offers information to stakeholders and developers on business internal standards, best practices, and requirements.
This document sketches how you are about to address any technical issue by scheming and constructing a solution for it. It is also mentioned as software design documents, engineering documents, or technical design documents.
Technical specifications are usually written by an engineer who will form the solution or be the chief individual during the actual implementation. But for large-scale projects, it can be written by project leads, senior engineers, or technical leads.
Why is Writing a Technical Specification Important?
Technical specs formulate the blueprint for the products being built. Fundamentally, it captures, in-depth, all the diverse stages of the product development, confirming a perfect understanding of every feature for both the interested parties – the clients and the development group.
These technical specifications have enormous advantages to everyone involved in the development – the teams that use them, the engineers who write them, and the new projects that are fabricated. Here are some of the reasons stating why writing technical specifications are important:
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Advantages to Engineers
- By creating a technical spec document, junior engineers are made to scrutinize an issue before writing code, where they may oversee some aspects of the desired solution.
- When you organize, record time, and break down all the work during the execution, you get a better outlook of the range of the solution.
- Technical specifications present a detailed view of the projected solution. They also aid as documentation for the project, both for the implementation and execution phase.
- This document saves you from repetitively clarifying your design to manifold stakeholders and teammates.
Advantages to Team
- A technical spec is an efficient and straightforward way to converse project design concepts between stakeholders and the team.
- The entire engineering team solves any problem and produces a solution collaboratively.
- As more stakeholders and teammates contribute to this tech spec document, technical specifications make everyone more devoted to the project and boost them to take responsibility and ownership for it.
- With every member being on the same page, it restricts the complications that may arise from overlapping tasks.
- New teammates, being unaware of the project, can onboard themselves and contribute to its employment easily.
Advantages to Project
- Investing in tech spec documentation eventually results in a greater product.
- As the team is united and in agreement on what ought to be done through the technical specifications, huge projects can proceed faster.
- A tech spec is crucial in preventing scope and managing complexity by setting project parameters. In this manner, it sets priorities and makes sure that only the most urgent and impactful parts of the project are employed first.
- After the implementation, it aids in resolving difficulties that got into the project. It also helps to find insightful aspects in post-mortems and retrospectives.
- The best-scheduled tech specs serve as an exceptional guide for measuring the return on investment of engineering time and the overall success.
Things to Consider Before Writing a Technical Specification Document
- Collect the prevailing information in the issue domain before understanding how to write technical specifications.
- Read every feature or product requirements that the product team has created, and technical standards or requirements related to the project.
- With such knowledge of the problem’s history, try to elaborate on the problem and the features in detail. Brainstorm all types of solutions you may feel might resolve it. Then select the most rational solution out of all the alternatives you cropped up.
- Remember that you are not alone in these tasks. You may ask assistance from a proficient software engineer who is well-informed about the problem and system. Invite these members to a meeting and elucidate the issue and the solution you opted for.
- Describe your thought process and new ideas and try to persuade the team that your selected solution is the most suitable one.
- Accumulate their feedback and request them to serve as a reviewer for your technical specifications document.
- Lastly, it is time to actually create the spec. Mark your days in the calendar to write the initial draft of the tech spec document. Make use of a shared document editor that your entire team has the right to use.
- Get such a customized knowledge base template and write your first draft of technical specifications right away.
What to Include in a Technical Specification Document?
Today, there are an extensive array of problems that are being solved by a huge number of companies. Every organization is different and produces its own exclusive engineering culture. Consequently, tech specs documents may not be of a standard format within companies, teams, divisions, and even amongst software engineers of the same team.
Each solution has diverse requirements and you must customize your spec document based on the given project. Select the segments that work best for your design. The essential parts of a tech spec document are as follows:
- Created on
- Last updated
- Ticket, task tracker, or issue reference link
a. Overview, summary, abstract, or problem description:
Outline of the problem from the user’s perspective, the context, the stakeholders, and the suggested solution.
b. Terminology or glossary:
New or technical terms you fall upon as you research your scheme. Or the terms that you may suspect your stakeholders or readers will not understand.
c. Background or context
- Source of the problem
- Reasons why the problem is worth solving
- Previous efforts made to solve the problem and why they were not operational
- How the problem affects the company’s key accomplishments and its users
- How the solution fits into the complete product strategy and roadmap
- How the solution fits into the technical scheme
- How the product relates to the team’s objectives
d. Product and technical requirements or goals
- Technical requirements
- Product requirements in the form of user stories
e. Out of scope or non-goals:
Technical and product requirements that will be disregarded
f. Future objectives:
Technical and product necessities scheduled for a future date
Resources and conditions ought to be present and available for the solution to function as designated.
a. Existing or current solution
- Pros and cons of the current solution
- Current solution depiction
b. Proposed or suggested solution
- Pros and cons of the proposed solution
- Dependencies of the current solution
- External elements that the solution will interact with and that it will modify
- Schema Changes or Data Model
(New data models, Data validation methods, Modified data models, and more)
- Presentation layer
(UX changes, user data and requirements, wireframes with descriptions, links to UI/UX designer’s work, and more)
- Business logic
(Flowcharts, API changes, error states, and more)
c. Test strategy
- Descriptions of how the tests will ensure that user requirements are met
- Integrations tests
- Unit tests
d. Monitoring and alerting plan
- Administering plan and tools
- Logging plan and tools
- How to ensure observability
- Alerting plan and tools
- Metrics to be used to measure health
e. Roll-out or release and deployment plan
- Deployment architecture
- Deployment environments
- A plan that outlines how to communicate changes to the users, for example, with release notes
- Phased roll-out plan, for example, using feature flags
f. Rollback strategy
- Plan to reduce liabilities
- A plan describing how to prevent other components, services, and systems from being affected
- Detailed and specific liabilities
g. Alternate designs or solutions
- Pros and cons for each alternative
- A summary statement for each alternative solution
- Ways in which options were inferior to the probable solution
- Migration plan to next best option if the proposed solution fails
a. Effect on other teams
How will this augment the work of other people?
b. Third-party services and platforms considerations
- What are some of the security and privacy concerns associated with the services or platforms?
- Is it worth it compared to building the service in-house?
- How will it scale?
- What possible future issues are anticipated?
- How much will it cost?
c. Cost analysis
- What does it cost to roll it out?
- What is the expense to run the proposed solution per day?
d. Security concerns
- How will the solution affect the security of other elements and systems?
- How will they be mitigated?
- What are the potential threats?
e. Privacy considerations
- How does the solution protect users’ data privacy?
- Does the said solution follow legal policies and local laws on data privacy?
f. Regional concerns
- What are the latency issues?
- What is the effect of localization and internationalization on the solution?
- What are the legal concerns?
g. Accessibility concerns
h. Operational considerations
j. Support considerations
- How can you ensure that the users are content with the solution and can interact with minimum support?
- How will the support teammates get across information to users about common issues they may face while interacting with the changes?
(Security, cost, performance impact)
- Tools to capture and measure metrics
- List of metrics to capture
a. Work estimates and timelines
Categorization of tasks by impact and urgency
- Metrics to indicate the passing of the milestone
- Dated checkpoints when major chunks of tasks will have been accomplished
d. Future work
The elements of the solution that team members do not agree with and have to be discussed further to reach an agreement.
b. Open-ended questions
a. Related work
Links to resources and documents
Credit individuals who have devoted their efforts to the design.
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What to Do After Writing a Technical Specification Document?
After writing a tech spec document, it is time to enhance it. Review your draft as if you were an independent critic by considering the following aspects:
- You may ask yourself what portions of the design are imprecise and you are indeterminate about.
- Validate that the spec has clear implementation instructions from which the teammates can operate even if you are not available.
- If you have any concern about the proposed solution and would like to examine just to ensure if it works, produce a simple prototype to prove your concept.
- When you have meticulously reviewed the doc, send the draft to your stakeholders and team. Address all questions, suggestions, and comments as soon as feasible. For every issue, you may set deadlines.
- Arrange meetings and provide an open platform to talk about the issues that the team disagrees on or is having oddly lengthy discussions about on this document.
- Request your engineers of different teams to evaluate your tech spec to get an outsider’s viewpoint which will enrich the document.
- Update this document with any changes in the schedule, design, scope, or work estimates even in the course of employment.
Create your tech specification in an internal knowledge base with the help of CloudTutorial where you can share your draft with other teammates effortlessly. This online tool will make your work easier by evading the tasks of sending files and integrating updates from several ends.
Writing technical specifications has explicit benefits for both the business and its development team. In this blog, we have discussed almost all the information related to technical specification like benefits of it to each department, how to write one, and things to consider while writing one.
You can adopt CloudTutorial to create an efficient knowledge base where you can produce these technical specification documents easily. Such documents will empower your team to come to a common ground of what is technically required with an aim to make your product or project a success.
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