Specifications and technical content

Ray Gallon

This is an asynchronous course with activites that lead to a certificate of completion if done correctly.

Duration: half to full day hour(s)

Date: Various

Cost: 495,00 + tax

About This course

If you’re like most content developers, you’ve been told more than once to produce a user-facing document with only a specification to guide you. Or maybe you’ve been asked to actually write a specification.

In this course, we’ll explore the nature of specifications – the most usual types, how they work, why they’re important, and how they interact with other technical documents.

  • We’ll look at examples from real specifications created for hardware and software in different industries, and examine how they work.
  • We’ll provide you with templates that you can use to write specifications, and you’ll get to try your hand at it.
  • We’ll also look at specifying our own materials. We’ll specify technical documents, and look at specifications for our internal procedures and practices.
  • The course ends with a foray into the world of agile software development. Many people imagine that in agile we don’t use specifications – but the truth is, agile needs them as much as any other development process. It’s just that agile specifications take a very different form, and are written in a very different way.


Key takeaways – when you successfully complete this course, you will:

  • Acquire a clear idea of what specifications do and don’t do
  • Understand their relationship to customer-facing technical publications
  • Learn about the different types of specifications and how to write them
  • Learn about specifying technical content – doc specs, style guides, SOP’s, etc.
  • Understand specifications in an agile environment


This is an asynchronous, self-guided course. The material is presented via short videos, which you can watch at your leisure.

Additional resource materials are provided, and there are activities that lead to a certificate of completion once done correctly.


  1. The Specifics of Specification
    1. What do we specify?
    2. So why bother writing them?
    3. About requirements
    4. Examples
    5. Relation to technical communication
    6. Some guidelines for writing specifications
  2. Specifying Technical Content
    1. Specifying technical documents – why and how?
    2. Specifying internal processes
    3. Agile software development – no specs, right?
    4. Agile specifications


Beginning to mid-level technical communicators and other content developers who use specifications as source material, or need to write specifications for products or internal processes.


Ray Gallon is president and cofounder of the Transformation Society, which develops strategies for humanist digital transformation and organizational learning, and researches the theory and practice of smart pedagogies. He has over 50 years’ experience as a communicator, most recently in the technical content industries, including major companies such as IBM, Alcatel, and General Electric Health Care. He is a speaker on communications topics at conferences around the world.

Ray is a fellow of the Society for Technical Communication (STC), and has served as an STC international board member, past president of STC France, and president of The Information 4.0 consortium. He is a frequent speaker and keynoter on communications topics at conferences and seminars around the world. He has contributed to numerous books, journals, and magazines, and is the editor of The Language of Technical Communication (XML Press).

Earlier in his career, Ray was an award-winning radio producer and journalist.

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