Before writing a single scrap of code, a wise software engineer will always write a technical specification, also known as a tech spec. This document prevents the development team from wasting time and effort on unnecessary steps or misunderstandings internally and among stakeholders.
This article takes a look at the value of a technical specification and the importance of using a professional template. monday.com has worked closely with engineers to craft a technical specification template that saves time and ensures that all bases are covered.
What is a technical specification?
A technical specification is a detailed and comprehensive document that describes all technical procedures related to product development. It covers all the vital, nitty-gritty information about the process of product development.
The development team lead usually writes a technical specification. After reading a technical specification, the development team and stakeholders should know:
- How the proposed product is going to behave
- What it can and can’t do
- How it’s going to be developed
- All systems that are going to be used/changed/created to assist development, security measures for data privacy
- The plan for rollout and rollback if necessary
- Business-related metrics
- Support and maintenance plans
- The project timeline
Technical specification vs. functional specification
A technical specification is sometimes confused with a functional specification. While both documents lay the groundwork for a successful project, there are key differences.
A functional specification is based on business requirements. It focuses on user experience by looking at product functionality. In contrast, a technical specification focuses on internal programming. It includes plans for implementation, testing, and the benefits of specific features.Put simply, a functional specification is about what you want from your software development, and a technical specification is about how you get there.
Why use a technical specification?
A technical specification, especially written using a good template, is like your product development bible. Here’s why a well-written technical specification is so important.
Keeps everyone on the same page
It’s easier than you might think for a development team to agree on specific requirements and goals but end up building different things or failing to deliver on promises made to stakeholders. A well-written technical specification keeps your engineers on task and your stakeholders well-informed by making sure that everyone sees it from the same point of view.
Lead engineers should ensure that technical specifications communicate everything known about the product requirements. It should also communicate its goals, features, limitations, and the timeline necessary to build it.
Because of the precise nature of software engineering, even the smallest misunderstanding can cause catastrophic setbacks. It’s also vital for stakeholders and investors to understand exactly what is possible. People with less expertise tend to underestimate the technical requirements of ambitious projects, and any unrealistic expectations should be nipped in the bud. Using a technical specification template lets you rest assured that what you are planning to build is possible and that all your bases are covered, down to the last detail.
Prompts important questions
A technical specification also gives the author a good idea of open questions that still need answering. Some elements of the project may only become clear after trial and error. The estimates of time and resources needed may shift and change during the project. If there are any uncertainties on your roadmap, a technical specification helps identify them and their potential impact.
A technical specification also acts as a rationale for your approach to a project. There should always be justification for the methods you choose to use in your project. When writing your specifications documents, you may find that there is a better solution. A technical specification helps clarify things for the development team and stakeholders.
What are the steps to complete a technical specification?
Let’s look at a practical example of a technical specification at work. In this example, you are designing a new food delivery app. A comprehensive technical specification template will help clarify your goals and nail down the details.
First, you’d need to establish the way your app behaves. You want to answer questions like:
- What do you want your app to do?
- What problem does it solve for the user?
- How will your product improve on existing food delivery apps out there?
Here’s your chance to be specific about what your system can and cannot handle. This is the section that paints a detailed picture of what you want to build.
Now you need to establish what is not possible for the development of your app. This is called the “out of scope” section of the technical specification. Any grand, unrealistic ideas from stakeholders need to be confronted with experience-based evidence from the project manager. For example, the app cannot accept payments in cryptocurrency.
Determine your approach
In this section of your technical specification, you can outline how you plan to tackle each element of your project. You should also include your reasoning. For example, if you want to use biometric security for user login, here is where you explain why it is the best approach and how you plan to execute it.
Another important functional specification is security and privacy. Your document should outline how you plan to protect user privacy and prevent breaches.
Testing and support
Finally, you outline your testing, deployment, and support strategies. For example, if you have arranged for a 100-person alpha test, detail that here. You can specify what platforms you’ll release on, how you’ll monitor feedback, and how you’ll offer support.
Because of the nature of technical specifications, these documents can get pretty detailed. The set of requirements you include will depend on the product you are building. Case in point is this technical specification by NetBit for a 650 Watt DC-DC Power Module.
monday.com’s technical specification template
At monday.com, we understand the many moving parts involved in software engineering. That’s why we’ve developed a technical specification template that does the tedious work for you while adding dynamic functionality. Here are some of the key features of our technical specification template.
Data migration is no tough feat with our template — you can easily import data from Excel into the template and you can export data from your board into an Excel sheet. You can also integrate our template with your other development tools for a seamless transition. From Jira and Pingdom to Github, our template is ready to go.
With monday.com’s Work OS, you can share files and communicate instantly with everyone and anyone. With everyone in the loop at all times, your team can work towards a common goal, knowing that all project specifications are accessible and customizable 24/7.
Boost your team’s alignment by assigning actions to developers, adding notes, and making changes in real-time. Our cloud-based templates make real-time collaboration easier than ever.
Every software development project is unique, each with its own software requirements. Our technical specification template is fully customizable, so you can add and remove steps and sections as you see fit for your project. This fully editable and integrative template allows you to make changes without worrying over ease of use and readability.
If you like our technical specification template, you’ll want to take a look at these too.
Product development planning
You can also try using a product development planning template, which we call a product roadmap template on monday.com. This template serves as a centralized repository for planning, building, and managing your sprints. It allows you to track progress, deadlines, owners, and more. Thanks to our product development planning template, organizing and tracking sprints has never been easier.
Features and releases roadmap template
Organize your product and feature release goals in one place with our features and releases roadmap. Assign priorities to major releases, get automatic deadline reminders, and view team feedback while keeping your roadmap tidy. With our roadmap template, you have a clearly laid out plan to manage and execute releases for each quarter.
Scrum software development template
This Scrum software development template keeps your team on track by allowing you to prioritize your backlog, track bugs, and reflect on previous sprints. Your projects have never been this organized.
Kanban software development template
Use the Kanban software development template to manage your Kanban workflow while improving efficiency. This is done by monitoring progress, assigning action priorities, and keeping your plan firmly in view with our premade Kanban stages.
FAQs about a technical specification
What is the meaning of technical specification?
As the name suggests, this document provides detail and specifics around the practical elements of a project. Any technical aspect of your product development plan is outlined and motivated in a technical specification.
What are technical specifications used for?
Technical specifications are used to provide clarity on specific details of a software development project. They keep your team working on the same goals with a firm idea of how to go about it. They are also used to keep external stakeholders in the loop.
How do you write a technical specification?
Writing a technical specification from scratch can be difficult, but monday.com makes it easier with a state-of-the-art template. Our Work OS takes the stress out of mapping out your technical requirements and approaches.
What makes a good technical specification?
A good technical specification requires attention to detail coupled with smooth presentation. monday.com’s technical specification template allows you to expand on critical areas without losing accessibility. Technical specifications are wordy documents by nature, and our template will help you trim the fat without losing any vital details to set you up for a successful project.