The Importance of Accurate Specification Documentation

Specification document

One of the most important aspects of reverse engineering during product development is making sure you have the right specification documents–because let’s face it, the customers will be upset if the design is bad–money, time, and effort will be wasted as you head back to the design drawing board to make changes in order to make the idea viable and lucrative to them.

It’s hard to imagine a product in industry that has not been developed from a design engineer’s specification at some point. The product statement should clearly outline what the system product should be capable of doing and its basic characteristics of design. Seems clear cut, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, and the final results can vary quite a bit if the format for the specifications waver and don’t illustrate the accurate specifications that the market is looking for. This usually comes about from different expectations on both sides and ambiguities in communication, and there should be best practice methods and guidelines put into place to benefit development in your enterprise.

There’s five steps to consider when preparing accurate specification documentation for your prototype product:


Step 1: Communication

Often a customer will have a part that they chances characteristics on to make a new part. Be sure that any existing part specifications that they are jumping off from are well-understood by all parties involved, and there is clear communication and documentation being exchanged between everyone. This clears up any ambiguities or misunderstandings between the customer and your business.

For instance, if a customer has an existing part that they just want some dimensions changed on, they should provide an actual part or detailed drawing to you with existing specifications listed, so that you can use it to measure it and update the new parameters in a 3D CAD program and design it going forward.

Step 2: Preparation

There is an amount of preparation needed to define a product specification internally within teams and departments in your organization. The documentation should not be written solely from one person’s perspective and input should be taken from other teams to provide a more rounded and effective beginning for the design.


Step 3: Market Needs

Sales and Marketing will determine how much potential market share your product will potentially have, but the product specification asks how to address this market need. This area defines the purpose of the project to all involved in working with this documentation.


Step 4: User Scenarios

It’s important to envision use cases and scenarios, and not only for the people who will be using the product, but also for the people who will be shipping it and installing it. This will eliminate many problems with specifications that are usually attributable to use cases and user scenarios that are not taken into consideration that will be very difficult to fix later on in product development.


Step 5: Product Principles

It’s easy to lose sight of the product’s intended use as it goes through its evolution. Keep the mission of what the product is about and what it is intended for in the back of your collective mind as it is handed off through the different departments and finally to the external customer.


There’s not always an easy way to systematically establish requirements for specification documents to guarantee accuracy and completeness, but it’s vital that it’s done. It’s often more of an art, of course, than a science, but it’s critical in the first stages of the development life cycle. It must be taken care of in the beginning because unclear expectations and ambiguities in the requirements can often appear later on and will result in a great deal of increased effort and money spent to fix the issues in your prototype in able to move forward.


Elite Tech Engineering  is an  engineering design company which provides CAD drafting services. We understand the lingo of specification documentation.

Image courtesy of phasinphoto /





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