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Why Are Functional Specifications So Important

May 22, 2014

Posted by: John Maddox

Why Are Functional Specifications So Important

Unless this is your fourth or fifth trip down the road of developing software, more than likely all the complexities that go into professional software development aren’t your areas of expertise. Don’t feel bad, you’re certainly not alone.

If your project is very small and simple e.g. a normal website, then it’s entirely possible to quickly determine a timeline and cost estimate. With larger projects, e.g. web and mobile applications, it’s much more difficult AND there will always be functionality nobody will think of until the project is underway.

So without further ado, let’s dive into one of the most essential pieces to a great development experience and a question you should have answered before choosing us or any development shop.

Question : When and how much do you charge to create a functional specification document?

Most companies of experience have a process in place to create a functional specifications document. This can be viewed as the blueprint to the construction of your software. Without it, you have a 99% chance of running into issues that require extra work, more cost and headaches that will result in an inferior experience and software.

Depending on the size of your project, this could take 2 weeks, it could take 3 months. Everything from UI/UX to writing the first line of code relies on this document.

From a cost perspective, you could be looking at $1,000-$20,000 based on the size of your project. Before you have a hard attack about the cost for a piece of paper, make sure to remember this is the blueprint of your idea. You would never have a house built without either paying an architect directly, or the builder having paid for it. Either way, a blueprint was paid for.

What happens in this part of a project?

If creation of the functional spec doc is the first step in the project, so many interesting and vital aspects of your idea begin to take shape. Determining the number of user types, permissions, what each one can do on what screen, what happens after this action is taken, what if they do X, what happens next.

As more thought is put into this document, so many additional pieces of the equation will come to light, new ideas will spark and often dramatic changes to the entire concept are realized. As answers to the questions are created, now the UI/UX team, developers, project managers, and you can be much more confident in turning your idea from just that, an idea, into reality!

So why is this so vital?

You will be surprised how many development shops don’t got through this process, and wonder why their projects go haywire and every client is unhappy.

At DevDigital, we believe helping to educate our clients on the finer points is vital. This enables both sides have a better experience, the project can be done better, faster and cheaper, and ultimately we become partners rather than just vendors while doing business together.

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