They say you learn something new every day.

Posts tagged ‘style’

How to Write a Report (29/02/2012)

I did something in the description of this blog (and edited it into the very first post) that I’ve realised I need to reuse.

Elevator Conversation

They say you learn something new every day. This is my attempt to document that.

More Detail

If you do learn something new every day, how long do you remember it for? That’s a lot of things to store. This is my store of “learned things”. I like Steve Makofsky’s description of his blog as “backup of my brain”.

Even More Detail

My other thought was about Steve Yegge’s comment that “I sucked, and I still do, although hopefully less every year.” Steve’s talking about coding, but I think it works for every aspect of your life.

After all, replace the word “code” with your chosen profession in this quote from Jeff Atwood and you’ve got what this site is all about:

“You should be unhappy with code you wrote a year ago. If you aren’t, that means either A) you haven’t learned anything in a year, B) your code can’t be improved, or C) you never revisit old code.”

I was somewhat frivolous when I did it, but there’s something really useful about this style.

You capture everything in the first iteration, and people can stop reading there. Or, if they want more information, they can keep reading. It suits different audiences.

I think this is a good way of putting together reports and documents:

This report in one line.

Then:

This report in one page

Then:

This report in graphs and charts

Then:

This report in detail

Then:

This report in technical detail

Or something like that. It allows readers to get the gist of it all at once, and then jump to the level of detail they require. Obviously, you could do some even cleverer things if you delivered it in web format or something like that. Sadly, at the moment, people are still printing things off, but I think this can still work in the printed format.

I’m going to try it the next time I have to put something together.

There’s been a couple of times now when I’ve prepared a page report and people have wanted a 10 page one or a 10 page one and people have only really wanted a page one. This way, you can allow people to easily flow from one category to another.

Tag Cloud