Re: What is a Technical Specifications document?

Subject: Re: What is a Technical Specifications document?
From: Beth Agnew <BAgnew -at- INSYSTEMS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 13:44:57 -0500

Scott Wahl wrote:
-----Original Message-----
A technical spec should be written by a developer. Technical specs should
always be internal documents, to define and clarify development work. The
also should relate this work to customer or product management requirements.

A technical spec should never go to a customer. If a customer document is
required, then the job should go to you, as a technical writer.
Now it's me talking:
I'm of the opinion that a technical specification can be, and often is, very
well written by a technical writer. Indeed, they are internal documents that
SPECIFY not only what development work should be done (based on
requirements, as Scott said), but frequently HOW it will be done as well.
Because technical writers have a vested interest in how customers will use
the product, we are able to include in the specifications details that
speak directly to interface, usability and customer needs. And since we're
professional writers, the specifications we produce are pretty much readable
by anyone in the company, which is not always true for specifications
produced by developers.

Before anyone runs this tangent back toward the latest forbidden topic, let
me say that different companies do different things, and that's perfectly
okay. There's room for all of us on this continuum: developers can have
significant input into specifications; sometimes business analysts write
them exclusively; and on through various permutations of the above.

I agree with Scott that specs are an internal document. If you need to show
"specs" to a customer, they should be rewritten for that particular


Beth Agnew
Manager, Information Development

InSystems Technologies Inc.
65 Allstate Parkway, Suite 100 Tel: (905) 513-1400 ext. 280
Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 9X1 Fax: (905) 513-1419
mailto:bagnew -at- insystems -dot- com Visit us at:

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