A specification is an explicit set of requirements to be satisfied by a material, product, or service 1. Should a material, product or service fail to meet one or more of the applicable specifications, it may be referred to as being out of specification 2; the abbreviation OOS may also be used 3.
A technical specification may be developed privately, for example by a corporation, regulatory body, or military organization, or it may be developed by standards organizations which often have more diverse input and usually develop voluntary standards (Voluntary standards may become mandatory if adopted by a government or business contract).
Sometimes the term specification is used in connection with a data sheet (or spec sheet). A data sheet is usually used for technical communication to describe technical characteristics of an item or product. It can be published by a manufacturer to help people choose products or to help use the products. A data sheet is not a technical specification as described in this article.
1. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) definition.
2. "out of spec". BusinessDictionary.com (online ed.). WebFinance. OCLC 316869803.
3. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (October 2006) (PDF). Guidance for Industry:Investigating Out-of-Specification (OOS) Test Results for Pharmaceutical Production. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
To specify an explicit set of requirements to be satisfied by a material, product, or service.