A specification often refers to a set of documented requirements to be satisfied by a material, design, product, or service. A specification is often a type of technical standard.
There are different types of technical or engineering specifications (specs), and the term is used differently in different technical contexts. They often refer to particular documents, and/or particular information within them. The word specification is broadly defined as “to state explicitly or in detail” or “to be specific”.
A requirement specification is a documented requirement, or set of documented requirements, to be satisfied by a given material, design, product, service, etc. It is a common early part of engineering design and product development processes in many fields.
A functional specification is a kind of requirement specification, and may show functional block diagrams.
A design or product specification describes the features of the solutions for the Requirement Specification, referring to either a designed solution or final produced solution. It is often used to guide fabrication/production. Sometimes the term specification is here used in connection with a data sheet (or spec sheet), which may be confusing. A data sheet describes the technical characteristics of an item or product, often published by a manufacturer to help people choose or use the products. A data sheet is not a technical specification in the sense of informing how to produce.
An “in-service” or “maintained as” specification, specifies the conditions of a system or object after years of operation, including the effects of wear and maintenance (configuration changes).
Specifications are a type of technical standard that may be developed by any of various kinds of organizations, in both the public and private sectors. Example organization types include a corporation, a consortium (a small group of corporations), a trade association (an industry-wide group of corporations), a national government (including its different public entities, regulatory agencies, and national laboratories and institutes), a professional association (society), a purpose-made standards organization such as ISO, or vendor-neutral developed generic requirements. It is common for one organization to refer to (reference, call out, cite) the standards of another. Voluntary standards may become mandatory if adopted by a government or business contract.