Paper or computer word processing program
Pens (if paper)
What is this tool and what is its purpose and benefit?
Service specifications are written guidelines describing how a service should function, detailing each step, aspect, the intended service experience and usability of the service, that is used for confirming requirements. They also can explain the idea that stands behind it. It can be created after each evaluation and iteration, each with its own version, to avoid confusion about the specifications version to follow. In the testing phase, it can help the people doing the testing to better understand the service so that they can suggest improvements in the evaluation process after testing and before the exiting phase.
Steps how to use this tool in practice
The same steps apply when working individually, in pairs or in a group.
Prepare a document for writing specifications for your service. Add the name of your service as the heading and the date of the document. Then add the subheadings from the list below that form the structure of the service specification document, but not the guiding descriptions and questions.
A brief description what the service is
Who is the customer?
List and describe the target customers of the service.
What problem of the customer the service aims to solve? What is the need?
Describe what the problem or need of the customer the service intends to answer and solve is. This answers the question of why you are creating the service, and what the intended result to the customer is.
Main goal of the service
State the goals clearly. The main goal from the customer perspective is to solve their problem, but there are other kinds of tangible goals that should be measurable. Goals can include timelines, income, profit, human and other resources, marketing reach numbers, etc.
How does the service work?
This includes a detailed description of the structure, operational requirements, function and features, performance, non-functional details of the service, locations, and any other relevant material. It includes a service blueprint with customer experiences and each touchpoint described in detail. Usually images and infographics are also used for describing the functions of and relationships between different elements of the service. This also includes maintenance.
What are the requirements for using the service?
What is needed from the customers to use the service, for example equipment, a smartphone, age limit, and how much will the target customer be willing and able to pay for the service?
The customer service planned
Where and how are you selling your service? In what countries? Online? What currencies will you accept and by what mechanisms can you accept payment? To what standards and regulations will you need to adhere? What are commercial requirements and collaborators?
Who are the stakeholders and what is their role in the service?
What is the timeline to be followed?
How much time will you devote to production of the service? Set a timeline to help yourself determine what is feasible.
The cost of the service?
How much money will you devote to production of the service? Set a budget to help yourself determine what is feasible.
With a structured template one can process the document and find relevant information quickly. You can also prepare the template in a table format with space for the answers.
Start writing an overview of the service on the template describing: what the service is and how it works, what are its size/scale, features, characteristics, functionality, etc. under each sub-heading on your list with the help of the guiding descriptions and questions. Write clearly as if it were a set of instructions, so that others can envision the service just by reading the document. Be precise and try to avoid making incorrect assumptions. Use market research about competitors’ services to help yourself come up with desirable and necessary features, characteristics, functionality, etc., and to define the uniqueness and value of the service you offer. Is there a gap that your service fills?
Finally revise the document so that it is clear, attractive in form, contains all required information, and easy to use. Imagine that someone else is going to create your service based on this document. Is it clear and detailed enough to follow? Check that nothing is missing.
Tips and hints for using this tool
Consider using non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) if you share this document with others as it will contain proprietary information.