Most of us don't write books -- this blogger excepted -- but many of us have to write a proposal to win business, or even win a job. And then, if you're on the job, there may be myriad presentations and documents to deal with.
Smart PMOs put some of us on red teams -- the independent reviewers. So, how about a checklist to guide the work along?
At Jurgen Appelo's NOOP.NL I recently saw just the thing -- though it was presented as a checklist for writers generally -- presumably books, but certainly applicable -- with a few modifications -- to almost anything you're writing.
Appelo posits four stages:
- Brain dump for what you want to say -- Let me add: draw up some storyboards... If you can't draw it, you probably can't write it!
- Shaped version for sharing with only your best friends
- Polished version used for tweaking
- Final version -- here, I offer a suggestion from my own experience: put the whole thing away for a couple of weeks. Come back to it and tweak/rewrite... you'll be surprised how different it looks from the vantage of a few weeks
If it's a proposal, then you have to follow the sponsor's guidance or direction about what's to be in the proposal, but I can't imagine a proposal without an executive summary for the executive reader
And, if it's a proposal or a book, the publisher/sponsor may have author guidelines, style guides, trademark requirements, etc.... Add a look at these as a step in Stage 1.
If you're on your own, I still argue for the executive summary -- some call it a preface -- but thereafter, Jurgen's list is a good guide.
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