Post 206 ⇒ by Gautam Shah →
Our experience about things around us is a continuously evolving process. The more we become familiar with a situation, greater revelations come to us. By remembering or recording the experiences, we hope to have greater understanding. Records of the experience help in recollection or re-enactment of the happening of the past. To record the experience we detail or specify it. Specifying our experiences is a process of continuous improvisation and rationalization. A specification is the ‘best possible definition or explanation at a given time, for a given situation’.
Specification at a very basic level could be a description of a thing or happening. The description of a thing lists the physical qualities such as size, weight, shape, colour, feel, etc. Whereas the description of a happening includes the changes occurring in the thing itself, as well its surroundings, both, of which are profiled or sequenced in ‘constant time’ (same time sections).
A description alone proves insufficient for reproducing a thing or happening. One needs to discover and define the process for occurrence. When a description consists of both, the physical characteristics and the processes, sequenced in time, it becomes a Specification.
A specification that has been tried for recollection or re-enactment, and with reasonable success for every attempt, becomes a standard specification. A standardised specification provides a satisfactory or assured result.
NATURE OF SPECIFICATIONS
Fear about a thing unknown or less known, makes a person prudent, so specifications of novel creations or new experiences, tend to be minimal and negative. Gradually, with realization of all causes and effects, the initial Negative Specification becomes elaborate and affirmative statement or Positive Specifications.
Though for many neither of the processes is effective, as negative specifications are too thin and positive specifications too elaborate and technically complex. A reliable and secure way out of such a dilemma is to look for a Comparative Condition somewhere, and relate to it.
CLASSES OF SPECIFICATIONS
- Affirmative or positive
When goods and materials are comparatively new and their effects are not fully known, ignorance and fear dominate. Negative specifications, therefore mention, undesirable aspects that must be avoided. Negative specifications relate to things that are harmful, unpredictable and debilitative for life. All specifications initially tend to be Negative, but gradually become Affirmative. Negative specification may, however, remains an ‘independent statement with insufficient corroboration’. Negative specifications are eliminating, and so allow a vast degree of openness. Results or creations, through negative specifications may prove to be unexpected and even detrimental.
Affirmative or Positive specifications
Affirmative Specifications come into being, when things are fairly well known, and their affective aspects are well documented. Affirmative specifications list out the desirable aspects that goods or materials are endowed with. Affirmative specifications also come into being when objects are beneficial and supportive of life. A specification becomes affirmative on being corroborated through detailing of all sub aspects or parts. Affirmative specifications gain their clarity through cross references or dependency on similar other specifications. Affirmative specifications are very strict, rigid, complete and positive, so allow little variations, alterations or improvisations. As a result these do not seem very innovative. However, results are better guaranteed in known situations.
Comparative Specifications are dependent specifications. An item is imitated or referenced because an assurance is available. Here the object is perceived to be like the original. People who are technically incompetent to define a problem or its context (a lay person trying to procure a technologically complex system, without any help), follow such a strategy. People tend to buy a branded or its equivalent thing, because there is an assurance of it being fail-safe. An original may be perfect in its own, but the same in a different context or environment may precipitate unseen problems. It is very difficult to search for a root cause of a fault, or a deficiency through such specifications. Comparative specifications are usually not innovative or creative.