Re: writing functional specs?

Subject: Re: writing functional specs?
From: "Lurker writer" <lurker_writer -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 10:59:25 -0500

Emily states in her eloquent response:

<<Therefore, in my opinion, within the functional spec, the writer has to
"prove" that what is being proposed in the functional spec is technically
feasible and usually within a particular very short time frame. And that's
where, in my opinion, design must come in.>>

Yes, that's right. The DESIGN spec is a child document of the parent REQUIREMENTS (FUNCTIONAL) spec; Function and Design are two separate concepts requiring two separate documents.

If you only talk with end-users when developing a functional spec,
what you
end up with is a marketing document. You must then take that list of
demands (which is all you have at that point), hat in hand, to your
engineers, and ask them nicely if they could possibly see their way clear
to implementing it.

Not necessarily true (the part about ending up with a marketing document). It depends on who you have on your requirements-gathering team. Stock it with SMEs (lead programmer/engineer, systems architects, usability engineer, Web developer/designer, whatever), and the requirements spec won't have that odor of marketing fluff.

And yes, requirements/functional specs have a way of morphing into those other types of specifications, but so long as you keep separate instances to establish the parent-child document lineage, you'll be better off. If you're writing specs for an external customer, each separate spec will have a different reading audience, with some common crossover naturally. Another reason requirements-gathering teams and spec teams need an experienced tech writer on them.

"Why, yes, I
implement this. Right after I finish the project I've been working on for
the last twenty years, which is a mental-telepathy machine." <<

I've seen the beta of that machine.<g>


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