Web Strategy/Specification Documentation

NOTE: I no longer offer these services, and these pages are online for consistency/permanence’s sake only.

You’ve got an idea for the next killer web-app, or perhaps just the beginnings of a plan on how to build something tricky online, but you don’t know what to do next? You need someone technical, with a broad range of experience, who can clearly communicate and document what you’re trying to build. You need me.

Taking an idea from the initial concept to something that a technical/business team can execute on isn’t easy, and if you want your project delivered according to what you’re really expecting, then you need a solid project specification before you do anything. Having a detailed project specification can help you get a better understanding of your own project, and is critical when having it developed by a technical team.

Documentation Sucks!

It does, but not getting what you were expecting sucks more. Why would you want to produce this kind of documentation? That’s like asking “why have a recipe?” when cooking a gourmet meal! Your project specification is the document that defines what it is that you’re hoping to build, how it will operate and how users (and other systems) will interact with it. There are some key benefits to a well-prepared project specification:

  • Sets expectations early. You know what you’re expecting, and so does your technical team.
  • Helps get more accurate quotes. When the entire system is carefully outlined and described, it’s easier for your technical provider to put together an accurate quote, because they know exactly what they’re building.
  • Shop it around. When you have an independently-prepared project specification, you can easily shop it around to a number of providers to get quotes and compare them to each other.

What Can You Expect?

Well that’s partially up to you. I can work with you on a document that details your project from a top-level strategic perspective, right down to a detailed technical breakdown of functionality with indications on where certain technologies will be appropriate, how it should be implemented on certain technology platforms, wireframes, the whole nine-yards. Common deliverables are:

  • Strategic Objectives Document: outlines what you’re trying to achieve through your product/idea and roughly how you plan on achieving it.
  • Technical Summary: A more technical document which gives a technology-oriented perspective on what you’re hoping to accomplish/develop and roughly how that will be achieved. May include technology recommendations and assessments.
  • Personas/Walk-Throughs: These documents often give valuable insight into how your product will be used by “normal” users. I will work with you to determine key user groups of your target market and then provide detailed break-downs on how they might interact with your system.
  • Detailed Technical Specification: This is the document that you can hand to a developer and actually stand a chance of getting back a system that roughly resembles what you were expecting. It will cover in depth things like technologies to be used, techniques to be employed, error handling, data validation, database model, URL structure and a whole lot more.
  • Wireframes: Getting a rough idea of how a system or web application will look is invaluable to figuring out if it makes sense and if it meets expectations. Wireframes are a great, low-fidelity way of doing that without spending too much time on design, and they allow you to quickly iterate through alternatives to come up with something that works.
  • Hiring Guidelines: If you’re planning on hiring an individual (or a team) of developers or other people to actually build your product, I can help you define the roles that will be required and what sort of skills each person will need. Knowing what you’re looking for makes finding it that much easier.

So if you want to get your project off on the right foot, contact me now and let me translate your awesome idea into something that the geekiest geeks out there will understand. It’ll make your life easier, it’ll make their lives easier, and hopefully it’ll help get your product to market sooner, and make everyone else’s lives better as well.

What do you think?