W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-qa-wg@w3.org > November 2003

SpecGL selling points: new draft

From: Lynne Rosenthal <lynne.rosenthal@nist.gov>
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2003 08:32:22 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: www-qa-wg@w3.org
This version reflects the comments from Monday's (17 Nov) telecon.  It 
still needs to be cleaned up, but I didn't want to lose the good ideas that 
were suggested.  Please provide me with comments, rework the text, 
etc.  Also, it would be a great help if someone had the time to format this 
into XHTML.


Quality is never achieved by chance... it is the result of endless 
research, experience, skilled craftsmanship and the uncompromising devotion 
to the ideal that quality is never out of style. W3C QA WG offers the 
world's most complete line of quality guidelines...over three models to 
choose from...each the leader in styling, performance and value.(From 

Specification Quality: Invest now
It is a well know fact that software development projects typically spend 
40%-50% of their total effort on avoidable rework.  Similarly but not as 
well know, specification development also spends a significant amount on 
avoidable rework.

Our objective is to convince you to use Specification Guidelines (SpecGL) 
by providing reasons of how SpecGL can help you or by appealing to your 
good conscience,  that is, making you feel guilty for not using it.

       helps ensure interoperability.
       provides collected wisdom and experience from people like you.
       improves the specification.
       shows how to do it.

Who benefits from using SpecGL
       Specification developers: early understanding of conformance 
concepts, less rework or scrap means less errata, less burn-out of editors,
       Implementers: helps to target areas of spec that are of 
interest.  Don’t need to read entire spec  just the parts that you will 
       End user  gets more choices because there are interoperable 
solutions.  Spec is clearer, with discernable requirements (e.g., spec for 
programming an API)
       Test Developer  Test Assertions are identified, conformance is well 
       W3C member  specs get developed faster can implement sooner and 
       W3C organization  reputation enhanced, recommendations faster, 
cheaper,  higher quality, and reduced maintenance

SpecGL checklists provide help
It may seem wacky to take precious time now, but integrating SpecGL 
practices into every step of the specification writing process will pay 
off.   Following the SpecGL checkpoints will accelerate your document 
development by helping to focus your actions during the document lifecycle.
       It is a well-established fact that the sooner a defect (e.g., 
ambiguity, hole in the specification) is found the less expensive it is to 
       Early QA lifecycle activities help increase the overall 
effectiveness and efficiency of specification development.
       Early SpecGL involvement allows evaluation of important planning, 
design, and development decisions with respect to how these decisions aid 
the testability of the specification.
       Continuous SpecGL activities can reduce the amount of redrafting or 
scraping text, the number comments to resolve, and the time to publication.

When use SpecGL
Use SpecGL to develop a quality specification  that is useful to the 
intended users and that is presented in an accurate, clear, complete and 
unbiased manner. Each guideline contributes to improving the quality of the 
final specification by leading you through a series of checkpoints.
       Using SpecGL in the beginning to get organized: think about the 
scope, how the technology will be implemented, what needs to conform, ways 
to subdivide the technology, and ways to allow variation among 
       Using SpecGL as a cheat sheet while writing the specification makes 
sure you haven’t forgotten something and for ideas on how to describe 
       Using SpecGL during document preparation as a guide to markup: to 
aid in navigating the document, to indicate discretionary items, and to 
call out requirements and test assertions.
       Using SpecGL at the end of the writing process to see if you missed 

Its easier than you think
The use of standardized approaches, frameworks, and tools can reduce the 
costs associated with specification development.  Over time, we hope to 
augment the Examples and Techniques with more tools, templates, and 
examples to help you implement the SpecGL principles faster and/or more 
easily.  We also plan to work with you, as you develop your specifications, 
in applying the SpecGL.

TBD (examples of WG experience)
Received on Tuesday, 18 November 2003 08:32:27 UTC

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