What are the Types of Technical Specifications?
In general, Technical Specifications are classified in three types:
- Functional specifications.
- Performance specifications.
- Technical design specifications.
1- Functional specifications
Functional specifications describe all external characteristics and connection interfaces which must be achieved by the contract (regardless of whether this is a service contract or a contract for the manufacture of a product, such as a software product).
In the case of manufacture of a product, in particular, the functional specifications are a sort of “guide” and point of reference, as they present the target capabilities (properties), appearance, usability criteria and relations with the environment for the manufactured product.
In general, the functional specifications describe “what” the usability will be, but not “how” this usability is going to be implemented.
The functional specifications translate the requirements into technical terms, in order to:
(a) Ensure that the requested characteristics of product or service have been fully understood before the implementation design stage begins.
(b) Specify clearly and beyond dispute all information required for design of the target product or service.
1-c Issuing responsibility and method:
The functional specifications are obtained with the collaboration of the Project Owner and/or its consultants (designers etc.) and of the direct beneficiaries of the contract. The participation of the direct beneficiaries is important, as it ensures that the result will have the requested (operational etc.) characteristics which will benefit its users.
The functional specifications contain specific information regarding the functional requirements of the contract. This information may be the following:
Purpose: What is expected to be achieved by the specific function.
Inputs: Which inputs will be accepted, in what form should inputs be provided, what are the acceptable sources of inputs and other relevant information.
Processes: The steps to be followed, the algorithms, formulas and techniques to be employed etc.
Outputs: Desirable characteristics of outputs, such as form, volume, time, destination etc.
Ex-(1) : In the case of a project involving the construction of an office building, the above information could be the following:
Purpose: the provision of office premises with specific individual spaces (20 offices, 3 meeting rooms, restaurant, 6 WC etc.), arranged in accordance with the architectural drawings and the building construction programme
Inputs: construction personnel and project management personnel (engineers, foremen, skilled and unskilled technicians/workers, machinery operators etc.) in the quantities (person-months) needed, project materials (concrete, reinforcement, bricks, coating materials, joinery, electrical and mechanical equipment etc.), construction machinery (builders’ crane, hoists, mixers etc.), subcontractors, financial resources.
Processes: construction methods for individual elements of the building, sequence of construction activities, activities schedule etc.
Outputs: The constructed office building etc.
Ex-(2) :In the case of a procurement consisting of computers, the above information could be the following:
Purpose: supply and installation of 19 computers as workstations in the local area network of an organization.
Inputs: supply of materials (computers, cabling and other accessories), installation activities, operation tests.
Processes: method of implementation of the supply (with or without the Contracting Authority’s participation), installation approach/method, delivery schedule and installation and testing schedule etc.
Outputs: Ten new workstations ready for operation.
to download a copy of a Template for Functional Specifications, please click Here.
in the next topic we will explain the performance and technical design specifications.