Definition of the term (“What is a specification?”) 

A spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on con­ta­ins a spe­ci­fied de­scrip­ti­on by the con­trac­tor of how they in­tends to sol­ve the con­trac­ting entity’s re­qui­re­ments. As a pre­ce­ding in­s­tance, ho­we­ver, the con­trac­ting en­ti­ty must spe­ci­fy as pre­cis­e­ly as pos­si­ble the re­qui­re­ments to be de­ve­lo­ped by me­ans of a  spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on . Thus, it can be de­du­ced that the con­trac­ting en­ti­ty should first ac­cept the spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on be­fo­re the con­trac­tor starts with the implementation.

Fur­ther­mo­re, it is com­mon prac­ti­ce to ap­p­ly the in­clu­si­on and ex­clu­si­on prin­ci­ple when ge­ne­ra­ting a spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on to ex­pli­cit­ly omit or in­clude spe­cial ca­ses. With re­gard to soft­ware de­ve­lo­p­ment, the re­qui­re­ments spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on is de­fi­ned in the V‑model, among other things.

What is the purpose of a specification?

The spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on has se­ve­ral pur­po­ses, including:

  • Set­ting clear ex­pec­ta­ti­ons: It helps cla­ri­fy the con­trac­ting entity’s ex­pec­ta­ti­ons for the pro­ject or task. 
  • Avo­i­ding mi­sun­derstan­dings: The de­tail­ed de­scrip­ti­on of the re­qui­re­ments mi­ni­mi­zes the risk of misunderstandings. 
  • The ba­sis for of­fers: Ba­sed on the spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on, con­trac­tors can prepa­re ac­cu­ra­te quotations.

What are the components of a specification?

A spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on con­sists of se­ve­ral im­portant elements:

  • Pro­ject de­scrip­ti­on: This is whe­re the pro­ject or task is de­scri­bed in full de­tail. It in­cludes the scope, ob­jec­ti­ves, and de­si­red outcomes. 
  • Time frame: The time frame spe­ci­fies when the pro­ject is to be com­ple­ted. This is cri­ti­cal to avo­id delays. 
  • Bud­get: The bud­get de­scri­bes the fi­nan­cial cons­traints and re­sour­ces available for the project.

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What is important when creating a specification?

  • Col­la­bo­ra­ti­on: The pre­pa­ra­ti­on of a spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on of­ten re­qui­res clo­se co­ope­ra­ti­on bet­ween the con­trac­ting en­ti­ty and the con­trac­tor. Both par­ties must cle­ar­ly com­mu­ni­ca­te their ex­pec­ta­ti­ons and concerns. 
  • De­tail­ed ana­ly­sis: A tho­rough ana­ly­sis of re­qui­re­ments is es­sen­ti­al to en­su­re that not­hing is overlooked. 
  • Re­vi­si­on: The spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on should be re­vi­sed to en­su­re ac­cu­ra­cy and completeness.

Where do we encounter a specification in practice?

Spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­ons are used in a va­rie­ty of in­dus­tries, in­clu­ding con­s­truc­tion, IT, and en­gi­nee­ring. They ser­ve as a guid­li­ne for the im­ple­men­ta­ti­on of pro­jects and tasks.


A spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on is an in­dis­pensable tool in the busi­ness world for es­tab­li­shing clear agree­ments bet­ween con­trac­ting en­ti­ties and con­trac­tors. It helps to avo­id mi­sun­derstan­dings and to en­su­re the suc­cess of projects.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What hap­pens if the spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on is in­com­ple­te?
If the spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on is in­com­ple­te, it can lead to mi­sun­derstan­dings and de­lays in the pro­ject. It is im­portant to careful­ly re­vi­se and to per­fect it.

Who is re­spon­si­ble for crea­ting a spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on?
As a rule, both the con­trac­ting en­ti­ty and the con­trac­tor are re­spon­si­ble for pre­pa­ring the spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­ons. It re­qui­res clo­se cooperation.

Can the spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­ons be ch­an­ged du­ring the pro­ject?
Yes, the spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on can be ch­an­ged du­ring the pro­ject, but such ch­an­ges should be careful­ly do­cu­men­ted and communicated.

What role does a spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on play in bud­get plan­ning?
The spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on is cru­cial for bud­get plan­ning as it de­fi­nes the fi­nan­cial re­qui­re­ments of the project.

Why is a spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on so im­portant for the suc­cess of a pro­ject?
A spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on is im­portant to set clear ex­pec­ta­ti­ons and avo­id mi­sun­derstan­dings, which ul­ti­m­ate­ly en­su­res pro­ject success.

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