Having spent years as a construction project manager prior to starting to work on the internet in 1995, I know the value of a good specification. It’s the document that defines the expectations, goals and means of achieving a final result which is agreed to and signed off on as the first phase of any project. In the case of small projects, we’ll often rely on the accepted project estimate as our specification, but for anything more than a simple project, a full specification process is highly advised.
As the old saw goes, you can’t get where you’re going when you don’t know where you want to go. A good spec, which doesn’t have to be voluminous, can ensure that everyone’s on the same page, allowing the developer, designer, etc. to be sure of meeting the clients needs, and smoothing out those nasty “surprises” for the customer. In short, a good spec is a win for everyone involved.
The problem is that on tightly budgeted projects, either in terms of time, money, or both, the specification process is often the first thing to be cut. That’s dead wrong, because the spec is the thing that allows you to identify potential problems before they come up, and as importantly, keeps the “That’s not what I wanted” factor to a minimum. Spend the time, and get the job done right.
A good specification is one of the key items to presenting predictable, repeatable results on projects. As business owners, we learn to love “predictable and repeatable.”