Specifying Processes and Products

Processes and products cannot be perfectly specified. We can only specify certain parameters, properties, attributes, or qualities. It is for example not possible to specify a table, but only attributes of the table, that is, dimensions, height, material, surface finish, color, etc. The theoretical limit would be to specify the position and direction of every molecule.

Underspecifying could mean that we do not get what we want and overspecifying could make it more difficult to produce (and more expensive) than required. In practice specifications are refined over time.

In general we will use parameters when we talk about processes and attributes when we talk about products.

For reference the definition of ‘parameter’ and ‘property’ from Wikipedia is given below. There was no separate definition of ‘attribute’.

A parameter (from the Ancient Greek παρά, para: “beside”, “subsidiary”; and μέτρον, metron: “measure”), generally, is any characteristic that can help in defining or classifying a particular system (meaning an event, project, object, situation, etc.). That is, a parameter is an element of a system that is useful, or critical, when identifying the system, or when evaluating its performance, status, condition, etc.

From Wikipedia

In philosophy, mathematics, and logic, a property is a characteristic of an object; a red object is said to have the property of redness. The property may be considered a form of object in its own right, able to possess other properties. A property however differs from individual objects in that it may be instantiated, and often in more than one thing. It differs from the logical/mathematical concept of class by not having any concept of extensionality, and from the philosophical concept of class in that a property is considered to be distinct from the objects which possess it. Understanding how different individual entities (or particulars) can in some sense have some of the same properties is the basis of the problem of universals. The terms attribute and quality have similar meanings.

From Wikipedia