Specifications are everywhere—the storage capacity of external hard drives to the operating temperature of lighting fixtures—and they’re often useful guidelines. But to be sure you get the end result you need, there are some things every project professional should remember about specs.
1 – Be careful about taking the manufacturer’s specifications as the final word. How equipment and systems are used, installed, monitored, and linked to other systems could affect their behavior during actual use. Discuss your environment’s details with the manufacturer to get the most realistic picture of what everyday usage will be like.
2 – If you’re modifying anything in an off-the-shelf piece of equipment or software, the original specifications shouldn’t be used as-is. Instead, determine how user expectations should be revised to match the changes you’ve made.
3 – The specifications of raw materials don’t always translate cleanly to the specs of a completed product. Be sure your team takes the time to do sufficient product testing before using early-process specs to calculate the final numbers.
4 – When rolling out information to end users, be sure to clearly delineate where your team’s specs end and manufacturer’s specs begin. This is especially important when it comes to troubleshooting—mistaking incorrect expectations for an actual problem could send you off on a wild goose chase.
5 – Some systems and pieces of equipment are designed to stop functioning if the minimum specs aren’t being achieved—it’s often a fail-safe measure. If your daily usage might impact the item’s operation, be sure to discuss the issue with the manufacturer before making a purchasing decision.
6 – If there are interdependencies in your final setup, confirm how any variation in one component’s specs might affect the rest of the system. Unexpected shutdowns could lead to lost productivity, and malfunctions might even cause wide-scale damage.