A specification in project and quality management is a broad outline of the planned project, drawn up by the client, which includes the definition of a product or service and the totality of the requirements for the scope of services of the contractor. The term “load booklet”, which can also be referred to as a catalogue of requirements, customer specification or product sketch, is particularly common in media design and software development.
Who creates a specification and what belongs in it?
The specifications are either drawn up by the customer in cooperation with only one contractor or sent to several potential contractors as part of a tender. On the basis of this catalogue of requirements, the potential contractors draw up a specification in which it is described in concrete terms which and how the desired services are provided. The contractor can then choose from the proposals the most suitable client for his project and issue the order.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eThe requirements in the specifications are to be kept more general and do not have to be detailed or complete, they only have to contain all basic information and basic requirements that are important for the future contractor – u003ca href=u0022https://digital-magazin.de/en/en/please-booklet-in-internet-projectManagement/u0022u003e in contrast to the specificationsu003c/au003e, which has to be formulated in a much more concrete and precise way.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eTheaime is to restrict the potential contractor in his creativity and competence in the development of the solutions for the realization of the project as little as possible, but nevertheless convey to him precisely and clearly all ideas, wishes and requirements.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eThe specifications are usually formulated within the framework of a work contract or a work supply contract and are formally accepted by one or more contractors. , ideally including written confirmation of receipt. However, the communication between the client and the contractor by means of a specifications is neither legally nor otherwise binding.u003cbru003eA specifications should be made as clear as possible, to avoid misunderstandings or ambiguities: concise but precise descriptions, usually in table form, supplemented with graphics or illustrations if necessary for better clarification.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eEven if the specifications are written by the customer and their thinking patterns take precedence, communicative problems may arise. if the client has no idea how the desired performance goal could be achieved. It is therefore important that the specifications are written in such a way that the contractor can read out the basic requirements from the formulations and rule on them in such a way that the customer feels understood and considers his wishes to be fulfilled – even if the u0022Wieu0022 does not meet his expectations. It is therefore necessary that the everyday language of the layman is adapted to the professional, and vice versa. Therefore, when creating a specification, formalizing approaches, such as modeling languages, are often used to make a specification easier for all stakeholders. Preferably, representations in diagram form are chosen, which is carried out in a predetermined syntax, which is described by a metamodel with its own grammar.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eAnother possibility of minimizing misunderstandings is the use of certain service providers, which specialize in the creation of specifications. Especially in the case of large-scale projects with an increased need for coordination between the customer and the contractor, specialist personnel are often used to prepare the catalogue of requirements, which is also responsible for the preparation of the specifications.
How to set up a specification
The form of a specification must always be product- and performance-specific, but it follows a rough “schema F”, which should contain the most important points and answer the most important questions.
Following is the structural structure of a specification, which has to be created in this way for the implementation of, for example, a new web portal:
The initial situation
How did the project idea of creating a new web portal come about?
What project-related knowledge can the employer have?
How many people are involved in the implementation of the project?
What are the specific problems with the implementation of the project?
Have we already tried to solve the problems? If so, how and with whose help?
Why is there a need for action?
Are there several projects of this kind in which the current one is to be integrated?
What concretely was created at the end of the project?
What exactly is considered a success in the implementation of the project?
Who determines whether the solution has been achieved by the contractor?
What is considered the benchmark by which the contractor’s performance is assessed?
What is available to implement the solution? Which deadlines should be met?
The use of the product
Within what framework conditions is the product ultimately used?
Who will serve the product? What user knowledge can be assumed?
The functional requirements
What functions should the product have? What does the product have to be able to do? What are the quality requirements for the finished project? To what extent should the skills of end-users (in this case, the users of the new web portal) be taken into account?
The non-functional requirements
Is it planned to expand the product at some point?
Should changes be possible at any time, if so, in which direction? Do you want to be able to make the changes yourself? What are the usability requirements? How often should maintenance be carried out?
The scope of delivery
What exactly should be delivered, when, to what extent? In what form should the product be delivered? Are there other suppliers, if so, which and what do they deliver? Do the partial deliveries have to be compatible, if so, how do the agreements take place? What is explicitly excluded from the scope of delivery?
The phases of implementation
What phases should the implementation of the project go through? Which deadlines have to be met in detail on the way there? How and to what extent do the agreements take place in between?
Any open points
What else needs to be clarified? Who takes care of the clarification and by when does it have to take place? How, when and by whom are the decisions made? When and by whom will changes be made to the specifications?
A specification will be drawn up at the earliest possible time, i.e. at least at an early stage of the project. Ideally, it is even made before a project order is made. From time to time, it is necessary for the specifications to be modified or adapted to the circumstances in the course of the implementation of the project, sometimes even several times, for example when findings emerge that were not yet known when the specifications were formulated.
The responsibility for the preparation of the specifications lies solely with the client. If he is not also the head of the project at the same time, it makes sense to consult this employee or to assign the formulation of the specifications in its entirety.