Specifications Jonathan Poland

A specification is a detailed description of the requirements or procedures that are necessary to implement or carry out a specific task or process. It is a document that outlines the characteristics, parameters, and other important details of a product, service, or system in a clear and concise manner.

Specifications are an essential business tool that are used to implement strategy, manage operations, and ensure that products and services meet the required standards and expectations. They are used in a variety of contexts, including product development, manufacturing, construction, and engineering, and can be used to communicate the requirements and expectations of a project to stakeholders, suppliers, and contractors.

Specifications can be written in a variety of formats and levels of detail, depending on the complexity of the product, service, or system being described. They can include technical specifications, which outline the technical characteristics and requirements of a product or system, and performance specifications, which describe the expected performance or functionality of a product or system.

In addition to being used to communicate requirements and expectations, specifications can also be used to ensure that products and services are of high quality and meet the needs of customers and stakeholders. By defining clear and specific requirements, organizations can reduce the risk of errors, defects, and other quality issues, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. The following are common types of specification.

Requirement Specifications
Documentation of a business need. Business units may provide high level requirements such as user stories. These are refined with a process of business analysis to be detailed enough to be considered specifications. Requirement specifications provide everything required to design a product, service, tool, infrastructure component, process or procedure.

Design Specifications
Descriptions of how requirements will be realized. A design provides everything required to implement requirements.

Material Specifications
Specifications of physical, mechanical, electrical and chemical properties and tolerances. Included in the design of physical things such as products.

Standard Specifications
Descriptions of industry or internal standards.

Interface Specifications
Detailing how things will work together such as a software API for system integration.

Test Specifications
Describing how to test a product, service, process, infrastructure component, tool, machine or environment. This includes specifications for functional testing, non-functional testing, user acceptance testing and quality control.

Performance Specifications
Specifications of target operating characteristics such as the availability of a service.

Quality Specifications
Definitions of quality that are used for purposes such as design, testing and quality control. Quality can include both tangible elements such as the size of an apple and intangible elements such as its taste.

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