Good and reliable requirements documentation is a corner stone for any successful project. When it gets down to writing specification there are plenty traps awaiting you on the way. We have gathered 7 easy tips that will help you to make your specification so much better.
1. Think about structure
Even before you start writing the first lines of your specification, think thoroughly about the structure you are going with. Make sure it is scalable and straightforward, which would save you tons of time when the product will be expanding. Besides, make sure you minimize the necessity to duplicate anything, otherwise when some change requests come in (and sooner or later they will) you will cry all your tears out trying to correct same thing in every single place.
2. Show context
When writing you requirements, take a minute to specify, why these requirements exist and what problem you are solving with them. It is good for you to understand the requirements better and for developers to get more motivated. Trust us, knowing that you are solving an important issue gives developers a chances to feel they are heroes of the day, which skyrockets their efficiency.
3. Keep it short
We know how much you love writing, but specification is not a novel, so try to avoid extra sentences and keep it short. This way you will save yourself plenty time required for review and significantly increase the chances developers won’t give up while reading it.
4. Do spec review
Spec review is a very good practice, which will help you a lot. First, review it yourself, then showcase it to developers and QA to gather some feedback and only then show it to your boss or customer. This way you will minimize the amount of possible errors, grab better understanding of it and make sure both developers and stakeholders are happy with it.
5. Show instead of saying
If you can show something via diagram, grid or graph, go for it. Showing is much more efficient than describing something. To say nothing that it makes both writing and reading specification much more fun.
6. Format it
It is a good tone to format your specification and highlight what is important. Format tricky places in bold and list anything you can list. Make sure you use numbered lists, not blurted ones, this way it will be much easier for you to refer to a specific place of the specification.
7. Direct vision
And finally, make sure it is clear from your spec how the product is visited and how it is planned to be expanded in future. This might give a hint to developers on the technical solution and simply will give a better understanding of what we are trying to achieve to the whole team.
As you see, making your specification better is not so difficult. Just follow these rules and share the ones you have in the comments!