In order for us, or anyone else to provide you with an accurate proposal, your company would benefit greatly by having a detailed design specification drawn up, then using it as your road map for the actual software development work. It can serve as a great reference point and benchmark.
What is a design specification?
A design specification is a document which describes what a completed application will look like. It spells out the required characteristics to be considered for awarding a programming contract-including sufficient detail to show how the application is to be created.
A completed software design specification should do all of the following:
- It should be able to adequately serve as overview for programmers, giving them enough information and understanding about a project so they can get up to speed quickly, and won’t feel overwhelmed when asked to create or modify source code.
- It should serve as the blueprint that designers and programmers use to benchmark whether they’re designing the application in keeping with the original intentions of the design team.
- It needs to be as detailed as possible, but must not impose such a burden on the programmers and implementers that it becomes overly difficult to create or maintain.
- Finally, it needs to explain what will not be included in the finished product. This will help ensure that all project stakeholders are on the same page.
Using a design specification will ensure that:
- Your company’s expectations are documented, and agreed to by all decision-makers within the organization
- All major design issues are unearthed and addressed
- Your time and effort isn’t wasted by repeatedly explaining project requirements to multiple developers
- Priorities and timelines for all the desired features and components can be established
- Objective cost/benefit analysis can be performed
- The resulting proposal(s) can be compared against a single standard. It’ll protect you from having to compare quotes on an apples-to-oranges basis.
- Your company’s expectations will be met by the developer who ultimately develops your new system
The procedure we follow when writing a system design specification includes these steps:
- Preliminary investigation – thorough review of all documentation and other materials provided by client
- Conduct interviews of key personnel as identified by management.
- Define project scope and constraints
- Create comprehensive system specification document
- Present results and recommendations to management
- Adjust specification per management feedback
- Deliver final specification document to management
The Next Step
After these steps are performed, you now have a tool you can use to solicit detailed proposals from as many developers as you like.