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Developing effective specifications one day course


This one-day interactive course enables end-users, technical experts, proponents, internal customers and other key stakeholders to work with procurement and contracting to develop effective specifications and scopes of work, to ensure fit-for-purpose outcomes. The course programme empowers participants to collaborate with all key stakeholders.

This course will help participants:

  • Understand the importance and value of clear and effective specifications
  • Differentiate between the different methods of creating specifications and when to apply them
  • Develop robust specification templates to ensure consistency
  • Understand the use of appropriate language (critical to creating effective specifications)
  • Appreciate the need to develop specifications in cooperation with stakeholders
  • Make use of techniques such as value analysis and value engineering to define ‘fit for purpose’ in the context of creating effective specifications
  • Embed key KPIs into the specification to ensure delivery
  • Manage and mitigate legal and contractual risks in the specification

Who should attend?

The workshop is designed for anyone who will be, involved in writing or contributing to the preparation and management of specifications.


This one-day course comprises a mix of tutorials and practical exercises. The tutorials explain the key principles, methods and techniques for writing specifications, while the exercises illustrate how to apply them in practice. The programme structure will be participative and session timings may be adapted to match the particular training needs and pace required by the group.

This programme will be delivered virtually. The live online sessions are generally delivered via Zoom, making full use of the break-out facility so that the same level of interaction between participants and with the trainer can be maintained. 

Course outline


  • Learning outcomes
  • Learning styles
  • Plan for the day

The importance of effective specifications:

  • Scopes of work
  • Impact of poor scopes of work
  • Examples of costly errors

The critical role of language:

  • Terminology in creating effective specifications and scopes of work
  • Problems of communication
  • Lack of detail or too prescriptive

Encouraging cooperation:

  • Technical and commercial experts with responsibility for developing robust effective specifications and scopes of work
  • Managing stakeholders’ expectations
  • Working with contractors

Types of specification:

  • Exploring and using the various approaches to the development of appropriate specifications and scopes of work
  • Output
  • Performance
  • Technical
  • Functional
  • Solutions-based

The role of value analysis:

  • Value engineering in the process of developing scopes of work and specifications

Specifications and contracts:

  • The legal and contractual impact of poor specifications and scopes of work
  • How to embed scopes of work and specification outputs into tender and quotation documents

Specifications as a management tool:

  • Developing KPIs and SLAs framed around robust effective specifications and scopes of work
  • Negotiating with contractors
  • Negotiating with stakeholders