Creating a website or web application is a complex process. Each project’s life cycle consist of multiple phases. The key to their efficient implementation is to act accordingly with prepared schedule and budget. To perform this necessary to create — at the beginning — functional and technical specification. How can the specification translate into the overall success of the project? What should it describe?
What is the specification?
The initial stage of project management should focus on collecting all necessary information on the future website or web application. The functional and technical spec is used to form requirements that act as a guidance for programmers.
The functional and technical specification is a document that consists of set of requirements related to project’s implementation. Among other things, it contains information on:programming frameworks, planned product structure and its necessary functionalities, which will form the final project and fulfill the client’s business expectations.
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Why is it worth to write down the specification?
The functional specification is one of the key elements of any IT project. The project’s success depends on it. Attaching the documentation to the contract concluded by the client with the contractor regarding website or web application is an essential step.
Lack of specs or preparing it carelessly in the rush, may result in the programmer not understanding your business needs or technical requirements. Especially that no one can read your mind. The potential threat to the product can be easily avoided by applying good practices when creating specifications.
5 reasons why you should have the specification
1. Smarter work planning
One of the main tasks of functional documentation is the possibility to better plan project’s activities. Clearly defined, written over time with their scope can greatly improve the work of the programming team. Having a specification document means the information is available to everyone, which eliminates guesswork or constant repetition of that information between team members. From client’s perspective, it also allows to enforce formal and legal issues.
2. Better understanding of the needs and expectations
The technical documentation provides an in-depth knowledge of the needs and expectations — to both you and the programmers that you are about to entrust with website or web application implementation. Writing documentation is the best way to verify your expectations regarding the product. By presenting your own product’s vision to them, you enable them to better understand your requirements. During this process you can also count on valuable suggestions that can improve product users comfort.
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3. The most accurate product evaluation
The technical specification is the basis for the evaluation of the project. With its help, it is possible to better plan the budget for the product to be created. In this way, the risk associated with the lack of funds for the further implementation of the project is reduced. The possibility of cooperation with professionals and the high quality of services provided by them is also important.
4. Stress-free project management
Designing a website or web application based on the specification doesn’t only mean acting in accordance with the requirements, plan and budget, but also with a cool head. Chaotic approach to the project, frequent changes of assumptions or lack of the final product’s vision is not only a waste of time and money, but above all, the energy — of both the client and the team. Thanks to that, proper specification enables the team to work more efficiently and professionally.
5. Satisfaction with the final effect
The impact of good specification on the satisfaction with final product is also significant. A website or web application created in accordance with the assumptions is every customer’s dream, especially when it goes hand in hand with the user’s satisfaction. This is why, it is so important to prepare the specification at the very start of the project.
Making good specifications step by step
1. Set business goals
Preparing the product specification start with a general description of your vision. What goals does the site or application have to fulfill? Where did the idea come from? What problems will be solved? Define the basic features of the product and its assumptions at this stage. Identifying the aims will be a starting point for the team, who can offer you more relevant solutions.
2. Specify the user group
Who will be the user of your website or application? What sex and age? What are ones needs? Finding the answers to these questions is an extremely important stage in listing specifications. Create a user`s description and write down the use cases. On this basis, you can create a website or application that better suits the needs of potential users.
3. Use examples
Show pages and apps you like and dislike. Introduce similiar products that you think are more or less successful. Using examples is a good starting point for further work to programmers. It will allow them to create a website or application, including solutions that you like and those that will not work for your project. Sometimes the agency will have better, based on experience, ideas to achieve the same outcomes with less time or cost.
4. Plan the structure
The structure of the site or application may change during the project, but the planning of information architecture itself is an extremely valuable procedure. You will be sure that none of the important elements of the product are left out and will be foreseen by programmers working on it. To visualize the design of a website or application, use blocks and other interface elements, list the screens you need, create a sitemap or even a prototype.
5. Draw up a list of requirements
Specify the requirements for the environment in which the site or application is to operate, the frameworks used, the way users log in, security policies, development technology, search engine optimization or functionality to appear on the website or in the application.
A great idea for a website or web application is not enough. The challenge is to create a product that is useful to users and, consequently, also profitable. A coherent and detailed specification is necessary for this. Using it, the developers you work with can understand your vision and turn it into a fully successful product!