Functional Specification Templates | A Complete Guide

Haleema Qayyum

By

Haleema Qayyum

Functional Specification Templates | A Complete Guide

Table of Contents

This article will explore what are functional specifications templates or documents, the different functional specs they have, why your team needs one, and how to make one.

When approaching a software development company with a project in mind or making or upgrading a product, creating the required documents seems overwhelming. Depending on the level of effort and scope, not every document may be essential for every new venture.

However, it’s good to provide a document listing all the requirements and point your team in the right direction to build a unified approach to work. So, here comes the functional specification document. 

Development teams use it to formulate a rough estimation of the project and, once initiated, an in-depth needs analysis.

Functional Specifications Templates

What is a Functional Specification Template or Functional Requirements Document Template?

A functional specification document, also known as a functional requirement document, works like a blueprint that helps the development team understand how an application will function. It limits confusion and misdirection in a project and describes the user experience step by step.

Although functional specification documents are often related to web development and software, they play a role in any project. Whether it is a new product launch, upgrading and developing a software product, or the organizational changes or establishment of process, FSD is equally important.

A functional specification document tells developers what features they need to build and why. Also, it helps all the stakeholders in the process to work through their often-varying opinions by focusing on a set of goals.

Generally, the functional specification template shows both engineering and business expectations. And all stakeholders review and approve the FSD document.

As a result, a reference document comes for the proposed product. That document addresses all parts of the company, from sales staff to coders to designers.

Moreover, you can use a (DOC) functional specification document template to ensure that you contain all of the development information necessary in a document.

In addition, the FSD template ensures that the team focuses on the requirements rather than wasting time on defining the design of the specifications document.

This functional requirements document template is editable to meet the unique needs of each team.

Explanation

Traditionally, functional specification document template for web development tends to be dry, long, and often technical. But such documents may not be essential or even useful.

Because the agile functional requirements document’s primary purpose is to scope out the project for all shareholders, FRDs avert long technical discussions.

While you can comprise various types of requirements and supportive information, the apt way is to explain the FRD’s fundamental objectives.

The functional design document must describe the features, context, and functions you want to develop. The FRD should not replicate any of the other process or requirements documents. 

Generally, Functional specifications document samples follow an approval process where business users verify that the solution focuses on their apprehensions. And technical reviewers ascertain the execution of the labeled solution.

Critical reviewers often include end-users, testers, technical writers, and product system owners. Finally, you proclaim that the document is complete when everyone approves the contents. Then, some companies go on to build the systems architecture document.

How Does it Help

Further, a functional requirements specification template helps as a reference document for the whole team. It shows what product developers should develop, what writers should document, what testers should test, and what salespeople will sell.

Also, before the development process, a written functional specification template illustrates the thorough consideration of the design and purpose.

Also, it shows that all investors are on the same page after specification approval. After the product coding, one should not write the specs to backfill the document.

Some developers and business analysts consider functional specifications, functional requirements two separate terms by saying that requirements describe what the software must do and that specifications define how the software must do it. In practice, you typically merge these two roles.

While reviewing the Functional specifications document template, you come across various forms. Your chosen format depends on what works best for your company.

Functional Requirements 

Traditionally, this is for software and other technology utilizing the Waterfall development method. So, the Functional requirements list includes what the product “shall” do. For instance, “The vacuum shall pick and choose particles smaller than four mm.”

Use Cases

Mostly, use cases are on their own. However, organizations that prioritize customer experience typically integrate use cases into applicable specifications—using the case set functions and attributes in user behavior.

For example, “The customer double taps the phone screen. The screen is lit. The user swings the screen to the right to unlock the phone and its functionality.”

User Stories 

User stories are at the heart of Agile development.  And they explain the functionality of the product as what the customer wants to do. This approach lets teams maximize customer value in the most effective manner possible.

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Who Uses Functional Specification Templates?

Generally, technical leads and business analysts make the documents and functional specifications. Then they share it with technical stakeholders and businesses to get reviews. And these reviews ensure that the supposed deliverable is on target.

You should use a functional specification template when developing and upgrading new software. Also, you can use these templates for web development, system engineering, and organizational changes, etc.

Usually, users of the specification template include the following groups:

  • Coders or developers: who code the product.
  • Designers: who makes the device, website, or user interface.
  • Testers:  Who claims that the coding works correctly and according to the specification.
  • Marketers: who prepare a demand-generating document for the latest features.
  • Sales teams: Who sells the product and features.
  • User assistance or technical writers document how the product functions for the end-users, administrators, and other roles.

What is the Difference Between Functional and Nonfunctional Requirements?

You can divide requirements into functional and nonfunctional.

Functional Requirements:

These requirements depict an activity, behavior, or expected result from a system or product. For instance, “Print a document” or “separate particles from liquid.” Popular functional requirements include audit tracking and reporting, administrative functions, business rules, and authentication.

Non-functional Requirements:

These requirements show how something works. You can consider it as a constraint, parameter, or attribute. For example, usability, security, maintainability, performance, and regulatory requirements.

What is a Functional Specification Document in SAP?

In SAP, the functional specification document summarizes the product from the stakeholder’s point of view, with clear expectations of how the functionality applies to SAP. When you merge the FSD, and the software requirements document into one, you create functional specifications.

Functional Specifications Templates for Agile Development

Agile is based on discovering the most effective way to produce a valuable product for the user. In Agile development, traditional functional specifications documents and procedures are often perceived to be financially prohibitive. However, recording more detailed plans and drawings will increase transparency.

One of the most common tools for Agile specifications is the user story. User stories put functionality in the sense of what the user wants to do. You may group related user stories to form Agile Epics.

As with typical functional specifications, user stories define a task or functionality but not how developers can execute it. Often, user stories adopt the following syntax: “As a user, I intend to have something so that some profits derives from it.” Here are some more examples:

  • As a cook, I want a widescreen to stay awake while cooking.
  • As a driver, I want to know when petrol is running low.
  • And as a dog, I want my portion of food to release my bowl of food at 3 am every morning.

And to test whether a user story is well created, apply the “INVEST” acronym.

Independent: Can the story stand by itself?

Negotiable: Can you remove or change this story without affecting the rest of the project?

Valuable: Does this story have worth or value to the end-user?

Estimable: Can you assess the size of the story?

Small: Is the user story short enough?

Testable: Can you test this user story?

You can assign a name and numbered ID to the monitoring tool’s user stories for project management purposes. In addition, you can give preference to growth, sprint, and story status. Stories head to the backlog of Agile product backlog.

Generally, user story templates are straightforward: they concentrate on defining the user’s role, mission, and what the task should do.

Functional Specifications Template for a Website

Planning a website calls for a high-level view of the technologies required and a thorough understanding of who can access the site and what you (as the site owner) expect users to do.

User stories used in Agile development will help you concentrate on user needs. Other queries also help to contextualize the website.

Our website specification document template poses various questions to help you identify the website’s intent and any relevant considerations, such as security standers such as PCI for financial transactions.

Functional Specifications Templates for Software

Using the Waterfall approach, you will also use the standard specification or functional requirement template when designing software and other technology.

Functional specifications list the characteristics and functionality of what is to be achieved by the product. e.g., For example, “The vacuum will pick up fragments smaller than four mm.”

You can also choose a template that focuses more on the business specifications. Our minimalist template allows you room to detail the intent of your product or redesign in the light of your business goals, in addition to higher-level design considerations.

Functional Specifications Templates as Use Cases

You can create use cases for many kinds of items, including websites and apps. Use cases focus on the customer’s functions for the product.

By focusing on activities, use case documentation helps developers develop user-focused goods. Also, these documents often prohibit stakeholders from misinterpreting the product design. Here is a use case template to define a task in steps, sectors, and branches.

What is the Difference Between a Functional Specification Document and a Business Requirements Document?

While several document variations and permutations occur, Technical Specification Documents (FSDs) and Business Specifications Documents (BRDs) are often different.

The BRDs identify higher-level business requirements for a product. While the BRDs ignore technological specifics in favor of a detailed justification for the product.

A good view of what the product provides and why it is necessary will also help steer progress during disagreements over product direction. So, FSDs should concentrate on outlining the product’s specifications and capabilities that you need to accomplish your end goal.

How Functional Requirements Templates Relate to Other Specification Documents?

Creating a tangible or transactional product involves generating many documents. And you can use a functional specification document in the combination of the following:

Requirements

Product Requirements: Used interchangeably with a market requirement document, this document lays out the product’s intent.

User Requirements: This document details the user’s expectations of the product. Some consider the consumer requirements to be part of the functional requirement document. If this document is in place, use it throughout the development process. In Agile development, user requirements are like the cornerstone of applicable requirements.

Business Needs Assessments: This document enlists current and desired business conditions gaps.

Business Process Documents: This documents specifics a business process.

Validation Documents: These documents include a traceability matrix, test plans, and operation requirements.

Technical Design Specifications: This document describes which programming elements you require for the proposed design.

System Requirements: This document shows high-level expectations for a product or system.

Business Requirements: This requirement template describes the high-level details for creating an update or product. 

User Stories: This document helps in Agile development. Also, it conveys the product’s intent by stating in detail how a user will do with it.

Use Cases: This document gives the context of features from a user perspective and functional details.

What is a Functional Requirements Example?

Typically, FRDs include the following elements:

  1. Who is the product for?
  2. Who is allowed to make use of the product?
  3. Inputs to the framework.
  4. What each screen is meant to do.
  5. System workflows.
  6. Outputs.
  7. Regulatory requirements by the product.
  8. Specific business requirements of the product.

How to Choose or Create Functional Specifications Templates

Well, it is essential to write a description of the desired product in the product development phase. But, the document of the functional requirement template should also manage by your team.

When developing a functional specification template, ask everyone with an assigned interest in the product’s outcome what they need in the template. Each template format has its advantages and disadvantages as well. Here are a few things to consider while creating functional specifications templates pdf:

Use “Shall” Statements: Common functional specifications tend to neglect context and are more open to the developer’s subject.

Use Cases: present meaning and description, but the devil can be in that exact detail—the scope can change as actual user needs become apparent. More minor requirements can be lost in the usage cases.

User Stories: Give the benefit of defining user needs in business specifications. However, they can demand extra effort.

What to Include in a Functional Requirements Template

While certain specifications are necessary to express your product’s purpose, others may or may not benefit from the production of your product. The format you choose will also be driven by what you’re creating. Here is a list that you can use as a reference when planning the functional requirements:

Stakeholders

In this section, you’ll put down the names and job descriptions of everyone participating in the project.

Approvals

In this category, you’ll have all the features given before by the client and other stakeholders or the product manager.

Project and Scope

The project’s scope will include an abstract of the feature specifications and requirements that will meet those requirements, in simple terms: the problems and the solutions.

Risks and Assumptions

You’ll talk about any risks that your project faces regarding technicalities, time, and money; the risks and assumptions part is anything that can impact the product’s functional design.

Use Cases

A user case or use case is a summary of the situation that the user finds themselves in, or that is the problem they have and how your product facilitates them to solve it. You can break a use case down more into user scenarios, and user flows explain each stage using a feature by using diagrams.

Requirements Specs

This section will specify your product’s requirements to help the user solve business objectives. For example, the features it needs to have.

Solution Overview

This section will include anything you aim to create to solve a problem. For example, sitemaps, user flows, etc.

System Configurations

Here you’ll detail out the steps needed to configure the future product. For example, we will describe what is required to create a user account.

Non-functional Specs

Nonfunctional specs will feature the general characteristics of a system. This section defines the product’s usability, appearance, learning curve, level of intuitiveness, and how long it will take to end specific tasks with it.

Exception Handling and Error Reporting

Here you will indicate how the product will handle errors or bugs from the users’ input. It will also act when the user makes a “mistake” rather than merely boarding on an alternative flow.

Ticketing System Requirement

This section will describe how you will do ticketing to handle any bugs or issues during the development process and even afterward.

Include in Functional Requirements Template

Tools for Developing and Managing Functional Requirements Document Templates

Again, when deciding what method to use to build a software requirement document, the company’s interests are paramount. What is working with other businesses might not work for you.

Agile Project Management Platform

Many purpose-built platforms offer functionality for catching requirement or feature tracking development and user story details.

Documentation Management

This provides one of the simplest and most popular tools to build render documents. Many functional specifications templates and documents are available as templates for documents.

Spreadsheet Software

This Spreadsheets software allows you to add columns as you want. Also, they eliminate the pressure to make perfect sentences because you only need to capture the necessary details that a reader needs to build the right product.

The Takeaway

Best practice tells us that creating functional specifications templates would save you time, effort, and working relationships. The functional specification documents keep all team players on the same page, operating from a single source of truth.

Deviating from this will lead to a bad project and upset individuals. But it’s best to build a well-designed functional specification document for the sake of everyone’s stress levels!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you write a functional specification?


Typically, a functional specification needs to include: Project scope, deliverables, the goals, tasks, features, costs, and deadlines of the project.


What should functional specifications templates or document contain?


A functional specification (Depending on the project and the team) include: Project scope, deliverables, the goals, features, tasks, costs, and targets of the project


How do I create an FSD document?


Here’s a list of creating a valid FSD document:
• Product managers should certify that all requirements are seized, and all business rules are correct.
• Designers should identify the user interface and interactions.
• QA should be able to get enough information in the FSD to reflect the changes in tests.


What are some examples of functional requirements?


Some typical functional requirements include:

• Business Rules.
• Audit Tracking.
• Transaction corrections, cancellations, and adjustments.
• Authentication.
• Administrative functions.
• Authorization levels.
• External Interfaces.
• Certification Needs.


What is a functional design specification document?


A Functional Design Specification document, also is known as FDS, is a document that defines how a control system or process will operate. Also, it explains how the proposed system will work, how people will cooperate with it, and what to assume when different operational scenarios arise.