A technical specification describes the main objectives and requirements of a web service. It documents how the finished web service should work and how these functionalities are implemented.
The specification goes beyond the concept of the web service. It may cover issues such as performance assurance, security levels and integrations. Functionalities are commonly depicted through use cases.
A complete requirements specification is a document that can be used to implement (program) a web service.
Why is a technical specification important?
Specification is sometimes perceived as an unnecessary expense because the end result is a document instead of a finished web service. In practice, some form of specification is almost always a mandatory part of more complex projects, and it’s constructed as part of the implementation project.
The problem with this is that the budget and schedule are usually already fixed, even if the final outcome is not fully known. Without a written requirements specification, there is a high risk that the client and the supplier will have a different understanding of the desired end product.
The specification also provides an undemanding way to tender out the implementation.
The price for a specification is usually in the range of a few thousand, while the implementation can easily cost tens of thousands. Specification can therefore seen as an investment. As the saying goes: “A job well planned is a job half done”.
It is perfectly normal for specifications to live agile during an implementation project, but when done correctly, a requirements specification sets the framework for the project so that the schedule, cost and outcome do not deviate substantially from what was initially estimated.
Technical specification in practice
In essence, requirements specification work is interacting with the client, analysing and forming the framework for the web service implementation.
During the technical requirements definition process, we identify the needs through workshops or by interviewing relevant people. Producing a valid requirements specification requires good communicatios.
The client doesn’t have to prepare for the specification in any way. All they need to do is make sure the necessary people are available for a few workshops or interviews, and we take care of the rest.
It’s also common that during the requirements definition process, the requirements of the final service become more accurate. Objectives that seemed clear at first may end up requiring a lot of refinement and further reflection.
The components of technical specification
The initial phase of the specification process involves identifying the functional and technical requirements. Based on the gathered information, the functional requirements are described to clarify the overall picture. For example, use case descriptions are generated. These descriptions ensure that technical choices do not limit the development of your system – now or in the future. During the workshops, we will identify, for example:
- Concepts and information dependencies
- User groups and roles
- Usability requirements
- Existing systems and integration requirements
- Technical and functional constraints
The technical specification process will result in a written document containing the main outputs of the mapping exercise.