Price: $1,999.00

Length: 2 Days
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Specifications Writing for Engineers | Workshop by Tonex

specifications writing

Writing an effective technical spec increases the chances of having a successful project, service, or feature that all stakeholders involved are satisfied with. It decreases the chances of something going horribly wrong during implementation and even after you’ve launched your product.

Additionally, specifications have immense benefits to everyone involved in a project: the engineers who write them, the teams that use them, even the projects that are designed off them.

Specifications are critical to the clear communication of technical requirements to contractors. This communication is specific to the stage in the design cycle, type of requirement and the particular industry sector. Engineers need to know the elements of a “good” specification that is universally applicable.

Effective specifications writing for engineers are essential because all projects eventually culminate in the development of a specification that has to clearly communicate the technical requirements of the project.

The specification, together with terms of contract and the project plan make out the three pillars of good engineering task execution:

  • Excellent engineering
  • Awesome architecture
  • Collaborative culture

Experts in this field believe one of the key aspects of successful specifications writing is knowing the audience. Content should be modified or expanded depending on the needs and expectations of the audience.

Audiences very often may not know the details of your ideas or product; or they may not know all of your names and acronyms. It even comes down to language itself, as your audience may not understand English well.

Assembling content is also a germane part of specifications writing. Finding in-house sources is a good place to start. These sources might include interviews with colleagues, industry journals and your own knowledge.

Consulting external sources is also important. These sources might include technical textbooks, competitors’ publications, the internet or even a library (remember those?).

It’s also important to estimate a schedule. In specification writing, engineers should start with an approximate schedule. Around 5% of total time should be for planning and assembling source material. Then the first draft/review should take up about 85% of total time. It’s crucial to make the first draft look like the finished document.

The final 10% of specification writing for engineers should be split between the second draft and finally identifying and fixing all errors and omissions.

Specifications Writing for Engineers Course Specifics

Specifications Writing for Engineers, is a special Specifications Writing Training Workshop for Engineers and Technical Professionals. Specifications Writing For Engineers is a multidisciplinary training introducing the principles that apply to effective specification writing. It is a practical two-day interactive program reviewing good specification guideline, road maps, exercises, examples, case studies, group projects and discussions.

Tonex Specifications Writing Training has been developed to transfer the skills and expertise to those involved in producing and writing specifications.  Developing a specification includes identification, organization, presentation and good writing techniques.

Who Should Attend

Specification Writing is designed for multi-discipline Project Managers, Engineers, Procurement Specialists of all types. The course will also benefit suppliers and anyone else involved in planning, writing, managing or contributing to the preparation of specifications.

Key Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the participants are expected to:

  • Describe what the “Specifications” and “Requirements Specifications” are
  • Describe the role and purpose of specifications
  • Describe key steps involved in creating effective specifications
  • List different methods of specifying
  • Compare and contrast RFI, RFQ, RFP, IFB and Design Build
  • Describe differences between function and performance-oriented versus design-oriented specifications
  • Learn how to best unscramble a poor request for Information (RFI), Request for Proposal (RFP), IFB or Design-Build
  • Develop skills to efficiently use analysis to best structure, prepare and write specification
  • Develop skills to write better specifications
  • Learn how to best deal with excessive explanation and vague requirements
  • How to apply grammar, simple sentence structure, and correct punctuation to improve your specification writing capabilities

Training Method and Materials

Participants will be provided with:

  • Comprehensive specifications writing guidelines and notes
  • A workbook with workshop exercises
  • Tonex specification checklists, forms and charts
  • Extensive documents and reference resources
  • Post access to the trainer via WebEx, phone and emails for up to six months

Course Agenda/Topics Introductions to Specifications

  • Methods of Specifying
  • Descriptive Specification
  • Performance Specification
  • Reference Standard Specification
  • Proprietary Specification
  • Descriptive and Proprietary Combination Specification
  • Performance Specifying
  • Specifications Versus Systems Engineering Requirements
  • Difference between IFB, Design Build, RFP, RFI and RFQ
  • Specification and Drawings
  • Statements of Work (SoW) Versus Specifications
  • Performance Versus Design Specifications
  • Engineering Management Concerns on Specifications

Scope of  Specifications

  • Functional Characteristics
  • Performance Characteristics
  • Technical Characteristics
  • Statement of Requirements
  • Design and Performance Criteria
  • Acceptance Testing
  • Installations and Operations
  • List Drawings and Other Guidance Provided

Challenges in Writing Specifications

  • Issues and challenges with Specification Writing
  • Challenges of Written Communication
  • Choosing and Using the Right Words
  • How to Deal With Jargon and Unnecessary Information
  • Problem Words
  • Using Simple Sentence Structure and Punctuation
  • Ensuring a Clear Understanding of What Is Required
  • Impact of Style, Format and Appearance
  • Identify the Possible Risks Associated

Specification Writing Rules and Guidelines

  • Principles of Multidiscipline Specification Writing
  • Clear Precise Specification
  • Fundamentals of Structure, Language and Writing
  • Conditions of Contract
  • Allocating Requirements to Solicitation Documents
  • Structuring a Statement of Work (SoW)
  • System Requirements Specification
  • Writing Requirements Versus Other Descriptive Things
  • Functional Versus Design Oriented Specifications
  • Writing a Functionally Oriented Requirements Specification
  • Writing a Design Oriented Requirements Specification
  • Coordinating Drawings and Specifications

How to Write Better Specifications

  • How to Avoid Unnecessary Details
  • Grammar and Sentence Structure
  • Formatting and Punctuation
  • Design Specifications and Requirements
  • Specification Writing Process
  • Clear, Easy to Understand Specifications
  • How to write simpler sentences
  • Selecting a Method of Specifying
  • Specification Language
  • Vague and Ambiguous Text
  • Sentence Structure
  • Words to Avoid
  • Avoiding Common Causes of Ambiguity
  • Writing Clear Specification
  • Wording of Specifications
  • Concepts of Clear, Correct, Complete and Concise Specification
  • Imperative Mood
  • Streamlined Writing
  • Forbidden Words and Phrases
  • Vague Adjectives and Adverbs
  • Words With Legal Meaning Different From Common Usage Unclear Words
  • Subjective, or Precise Words
  • Correct Punctuation Style
  • Words and Phrases Not to Use

In Class Activities

  • CPM Specification for Feedback and Discussion
  • Workshops Will Focus on Specification Writing Best Practices:
  • Workshop 1: Writing Clear Specifications
    • The Need for Clarity
    • Fixing Long Sentences
    • Using Concise Expressions
    • How to Write Short Sentences
    • How to Use the Active Voice
    • How to Eliminate Fluff Words
    • Efficient Sentence Structure
    • How Grammatical Errors in Specifications Are Handled
    • Types of Ambiguities
    • Verb Tenses and Auxiliary Verb Usage
    • Modifiers That Apply to Two or More Nouns
    • Essential and Nonessential Dependent Clauses
    • Multiple Conjunctions
    • Extracting the Content From Master Spec
    • Specifying Workmanship
  • Workshop 2: Specification Language
    • Sentence Structure
    • Vocabulary
    • Abbreviations
    • Unnecessary Word
    • Inappropriate Terms
    • Prepositional Phrases
    • Guidelines on Usage of Words and Phrases in Specifications
  • Workshop 3: Grammar Review
    • Noun Family
    • Verb Family
    • Prepositions
    • Conjunctions
    • Clauses


Specifications Writing for Engineers | Workshop

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