Technical writing is an art. Or at least a craft. An activity for which you need training, experience, and excellent skills.
Especially when it comes to the technical parts of proposals and contracts, service level agreements (SLA), and requests for proposal (RFP) for high-tech products and services.
The Technical Specifications of Your Proposals and Contracts
‘Technical specifications’ is a broad term. It describes ‘any characteristic of an engineered system that must conform to a specific metric, within some degree of error’.
In information technology and software there are several types of technical specification.
A functional specification describes the expected behavior of a software system. It describes what the system must do. User requirements are often part of the functional specification.
And then there are ‘program specifications’ that describe what the software is supposed to achieve. This differs from a functional specification in that, while a program specification describes what the system does, the functional specification will describe the manner in which it does it.
In high-tech manufacturing industries slightly different words are are used.
For instance, in aerospace the description of the aircraft is called simple ‘aircraft specification’ or ‘aircraft configuration’
In the design phase of for instance defense programs, how the system does it is described in the ‘design specification’.
And finally for projects technical specifications are called ‘statements of work‘.
But whatever they are called, technical writing skills need to be used to get the work done!
Looking for technical writers or proposal writers with technical writing skills for your high-tech product or service?
Who Is Doing Your Technical Writing for Proposals
So many companies in high-tech industries selling complex high-value products and services in industries like aerospace, defense technology, oil & gas, IT, business services, and everything ending with ‘tech’ leave this to their engineers.
Bright academics who have been trained in their technical field at the best technical universities.
But unfortunately, they never have been taught what is important when it comes to writing a commercial proposal, or draft an SLA, or set up a statement of work or technical specification, user manual, or SOP.
Technical writing and technical proposal writing are therefore closely related but require slightly different skills.
Technical writing is task focused, so task analysis and procedure writing are a much bigger part of the toolkit. Technical writers will probably work closely with engineers or developers along with product testers.
Technical proposal writers will work with business analysts and sales people to ensure the technical descriptions are clear and reflect the commercial value propositions .
It could be still done by one and the same person but in addition to technical skills, he or se also needs to have commercial writing skills.
Excellent Technical Proposal Writing is Crucial to Optimizing Contract Value
Most of the issues – including contract value leakage – are caused by disagreements, disputes, and claims related to the scope and goals of contracts, or errors in manuals, software installation guides, standard operating procedures (SOP), service level agreements (SLA)?
All subjects that you should find in the technical specification as defined above.
How to Optimize Technical Writing
Technical writing is taking high-level information and processing it into understandable content for a specific audience.
Technical writing is a highly valuable and crucial skill for anyone working in a complex and tech-related business like aerospace, defense technology, IT, or other tech industry.
So we need to train our engineers in how to communicate their knowledge to colleagues and customers.
And write down and translate such customer needs in what will become one of the most essential parts of a proposal or contract: the ‘technical specification’, or ‘scope of work’, or ‘statement of work’, describing as clearly and concisely as possible the ‘subject matter of sale’.