Technical specifications, (or tech specs, as they’re frequently called,) are documents that define a new product or feature from a technical perspective. They generally cover what the feature does, why it’s important, how it’ll be built, and what it’s trying to accomplish. Product and engineering teams use tech specs to align on the work they’re doing.
The Importance of a Good Technical Specification
Having a good technical spec is like using a script when performing a play. It allows everyone to understand the roles they need to play, as well as how these roles interact with one another. They keep people from stepping on one another’s toes or overlooking a critical piece of information.
Below is a technical spec template from two talented members of the Lyft Engineering team, @blackqueentech and @chloerevery. Their post, How to Write Awesome Tech Specs by Lyft Engineering is a trove of great information on technical specs, specifically, as well as how to disseminate and iterate on documentation, more broadly. We love (and share!) their philosophy:
“…tech specs are an upfront investment of time and effort that in the long run can create exponential payoffs for you and your team.”
Technical specs enable teams to move faster, encounter fewer issues, and avoid scope creep. They’re a form of documentation that yields an incredible return on investment. The most high-performing teams take the time to draft clear, actionable tech specs.