The IT Crowd stance on writing Advice Documents

After writing the a post about writing an advice document a while back. Now I’ve created a storyline presentation themed by “the IT Crowd” ;

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How to write an advice document?

Too often… I notice that people stumble with writing advice. With some basic guidance, this shouldn’t be that hard!

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So what should an advice document look like? Let’s start with the high level skeleton of this document ;

Management Summary
Most (upper) management does not have the time / interested to go into details. Do not get annoyed by this, it’s just how it is… Therefor start off your document with a “management summary”! This in fact an Elevator Pitch or the details of the document below. In regards to timing, this is the last chapter you write. Yet do NOT put it at the end as a “Conclusion”, but in front as a “Management Summary”.

Context
Context matters! Really… CONTEXT MATTERS! 😉 Describe the specifics of the environment you are working in. Describe the culture, the principles at hand, the history of things, … anything that matters into shaping your advice.

Current Situation
Do not jump to conclusions! First describe the starting point… Why do you want to advice things? There is nothing wrong with the way we are working now, or is there? Give an indication towards the circumstances and the effect of those aspects.

Ideal Situation
Now describe your “ideal” (given the context!) situation. Provide a thorough insight into the aspects the ideal situation solves and the motivation why you want to change things.

Path to…
Now we know the starting & the targeted goal, so it is time to set the path. In most cases, an immediate jump towards the end goal is not feasible. In that case, describe the intermediate steps that need to be accomplished to reach the goal.

I hope this was helpful and improves the advice documents you write. Anyhow, here is a quick cheat sheet to in case of emergency… 😉

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Put some PUNCH into your presentations!


The basic PUNCH recipe for each presentation…

  • PERSONAL : Make it Personal.
  • UNEXPECTED : Reveal something unexpected.
  • NOVEL : Show or tell of something novel.
  • CHALLENGING : Challenge conventional wisdom or challenge the audience’s assumptions
  • HUMOROUS : Use humor to engage the audience emotionally with a shared laugh.

Read up the full story at Presentation Zen, it’s worth your time!