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The importance of a technical specification for smooth project management

27.01.2017
The importance of a technical specification for smooth project management
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Creating or developing your web resource is a complex process. Your project life cycle consists of many phases. Let’s start from the very beginning. We have already written that in the initial stage of the project management process we gather information about the future site. The technical specification contains this information and is very crucial, as it defines all the next steps and the overall success of the project.

What is a technical specification?

A technical specification (or “spec”) is a normative document on which the project development is based. It contains detailed requirements for the components and characteristics of the future web product.

Why is a spec crucial?

A technical specification serves as a base for the next step — the estimation of a web project — which includes the assessment of its complexity and calculation of its terms and cost. The development team faces many difficulties here. It’s impossible to predict with 100% accuracy how much time and money it will take. This is why estimates are so challenging, ambiguous and often confound. However, the more detailed a spec initially is, and the less refinement it has, the more precise the forecasts will be. The more exactly you describe your desired result, the easier it will be to get it.

Also, due to the spec, you as a customer will be able to evaluate your web company’s work to judge success or failure. The evaluation criterion is whether the web resource you end up with meets all the written requirements or not. You can compare all your site or application features approved in the spec with those received at the end of the project.

What information should make up a spec?

Value proposition

What main message does your organization want to convey? How is the upcoming web resource expected to be used? For example, is it the creation of an online store to advertise and sell products, or a web portal to help users find necessary information?

Goal(s) and objectives

Why do you need this project? Why is it vital for your company’s business? Why is it worth implementing? What problems can it solve? What benefits is it expected to bring?

You should know answers to all these questions before starting the project. In order to achieve your goal(s), you need to define them first. One project may have a few goals, each supported and specified by lots of objectives. Objectives are a so-called road map that helps reach the final destination — your goal.

Target audience

Who is sitting in front of screens and viewing your web product? Who are your potential customers? What age and gender are they? Where do they live? What is their level of income? What do they need most and what do they expect from you?

If you have already had your site running for some time, then web analytic tools, including Google Analytics 360 Suite, and other ways to reach out to your target audience will help you answer these questions. If not, your business absolutely needs a website, and the first step is writing a technical specification for it. You should know for whom your site or app is designed. This allows you to predict the prospect clients’ online behavior and determine the view and functional characteristics of your web resource in order to meet customer needs.

Specified requirements

For example, if the spec is for developing a new site, then it should describe in detail the requirements regarding software, security, search engine optimization and all other aspects. To visualize the color scheme or demonstrate the location of layout blocks and other interface elements, you can add a website map, page templates, models, prototypes etc. The more concrete and accurately formulated a spec is, the more likely you’ll get a desirable and expected result.

The need to take into account new information, revealed in the course of the project, arises very often. In such cases, the specification is altered, corrected and extended. However, don’t abuse it. The ideal case is when a customer and a developer imagine the same end product from the very beginning. This will reduce risk factors and confusion.

So, if accurate coordinates of your destination are set initially, then small deflections won’t push you away from the right direction. Nevertheless, if you don’t have a technical specification yet, but just an idea, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced specialists. They will give you advice on project and help make the spec.

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