The advantage of writing up detailed design specifications.

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.



Advantages

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



Seven-Step Method

The procedure we follow when writing a system design specification includes these steps:

  1. Preliminary investigation – thorough review of all documentation and other materials provided by client
  2. Conduct interviews of key personnel as identified by management.
  3. Define project scope and constraints
  4. Create comprehensive system specification document
  5. Present results and recommendations to management
  6. Adjust specification per management feedback
  7. 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.

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