TEN ELEMENTS OF TECHNICAL WRITING by liaoqinmei

VIEWS: 8 PAGES: 52

									PROJECT MANAGEMENT
      ENCE-7323
         CLASS 8
       March 17, 2003
       Carl E. Edlund
       214-665-8124
    cedlund@prodigy.net
    edlund.carl@epa.gov
      CLASS 8

PROJECT DOCUMENTATION
         AND
  TECHNICAL WRITING
          CLASS 8 OUTLINE

•   Finish Class 6
•   Project related documentation
•   Ten elements of technical writing
•   Review of mid-term in Class 9
Federal Acquisition Regulations
           ‘FAR’
• TERMS:
  – Contract
  – Acquisition
  – Purchase
• TWO DRIVING PRINCIPLES:
  1. Stewardship of Appropriated Funds
     • Full and open Competition
  2. Procurement ‘Above Reproach’:
     • Minimize:Fraud Waste Abuse
 Federal Acquisition Regulations
• All federal procurements, all agencies
• Maintained by: GSA, DoD, NASA, and
  EPA
• Procurement Authority issued by GSA to
  each agency, subsequent delegations within
  each
Federal Acquisition Regulations

• Contracting Officer (CO)
     • Authority to issue and cancel contracts
     • Personal signature
• Contracting Specialist (CS)
     • Administers the contract.
     • Works directly for the CO
• Contracting Officer’s Technical
  Representative (COTR)
     • Evaluates technical specifications and deliverables,
     • Monitors work progress
 Federal Acquisition Regulations
• Specifications are for ‘things’:
  – Technical attributes
  – Clear language
  – Avoid trademark or commercial description
• Statement of Work (SOW) is for ‘services;
  – Task oriented
  – Meaningful measures
  – May be ambiguous [e.g. research]
Performance-Based verses Specifications-Based Contracts
              Contract Types
• Sealed Bid Contracts
  – FFP - Firm Fixed Price
     • Maximum risk for contractor
     • Minimum contract administration
  – FPE - Fixed Price with Economic Price
    Adjustments
     • Contingencies related to economy
     • Reduces contractor risk .. but …
  – FPI - Fixed Price Incentive
     • Profit adjustment
     • Shared risks/benefits
     • Performance incentive
                 Contract Types
• Negotiated Contracts:
   – CPFF - Cost Plus Fixed Fee
      • Frequently used for R&D and environmental assessments
      • FF range: 5 to 15 percent
   – CPIF - Cost Plus Incentive Fee
      • Fee based on negotiated formula
      • General services use this
   – CPAF - Cost Plus Award Fee
      • Subjective evaluation of fee
      • Partial payment
               Contract Types
• Negotiated Contracts:
  – T & M - Time and Materials
     • Frequent for A & E and environmental services
     • Hourly rates
     • Materials at cost
  – T & M * Indefinite Delivery T/M
     • Flexibility for scheduling and levels of effort
     • Bounds set on agency obligations
  – SSC - Sole Source Contracts
     • Uniquely qualified contractor .. Unique product or
       service
     • Limited component of overall project
     • Misery to administer
                    Contract Types
  • Negotiated Contracts:
      – C%C - Cost Plus Percent of Cost
          • A ‘no - no’ … why?
      – Letter Contracts
          • No bidding/competition at all
          • Time of war, national emergency

Q: Which form of contracting is   A: Sealed bid FFP! This has the most
most wanted by contractors, and   potential for profit.
why?
Balancing: Stewardship and Integrity
HIGH

                                    FPI FFP
                                    FPE

                                 CPFF
                                 CPAF
                         T&M     CPIF

                   SSC
                                              REPROACH


             C%C
 LOW




       LOW                              HIGH
                   STEWARDSHIP
       Soliciting for Contracts
• Commerce Business Daily
  – Prime vehicle but other advertising is also done
  – www.cbdweb.com
• Types of announcements
  – Sources Sought
  – Notice of Intent
  – Pre-solicitation Notice
• Timing:
  – 15 days before solicitation
  – at least 30 day notice period
      Soliciting for Contracts
• Sealed Bid Process
  – Basic
  – Two Step
• Negotiated Contracts
  – RFP/RFQ
                  Bid Protests
• Timing:
  – w/I 10 days
• Made to:
  – Awarding Agency
  – GAO
  – Courts
                   SIKES
• Re-solicitation for Bids
  – Delayed project one year
  – Complied with FAR
  – Saved $24 to $41 million
• Sikes cleanup:
  – 1 billion pounds of contaminated soil detoxified
  – 3 billion pounds of water cleansed
  – All for $.30 a pound … a bargain?
     Socioeconomic Programs
• Small Business
  – Set-asides
  – Competitiveness demonstration
• Labor Surplus Area Set-aside
• Minority and Woman's Business Enterprise
  [MBE/WBE]
• Davis-Bacon Act
             A&E Contracts
•   Special Problems lead to 1972 Brookes Act
•   Qualifications Based Selection
•   Fair price [industry ‘standard’]
•   Announced in CBD
•   Panel selection
         Contract Modifications
•   Administrative vs Substantive
•   Unilateral vs Bilateral
•   The ‘Changes Clauses’
•   Computation and negotiation difficult
        Contract Termination
• ‘Near termination’ remedies:
  – stop payment
  – reduce price
  – assess damages
• Termination for default
• Termination for Convenience
      Ethics in Contracting
• BASIC DRIVING FACTORS:
  – 1. ABOVE REPROACH
  – 2. STEWARDSHIP
PROJECT DOCUMENTATION AND
    TECHNICAL WRITING
• The importance of writing well
• Considerations regarding project-related
     documentation
• Types of project documentation
• Ten elements of technical writing
• Putting thoughts on paper
• Mechanics of writing
• Writing perspective
• Use of graphics
                                             22
            WRITING WELL
• The project, the project manager, and the
  project manager’s organization are
  assessed in terms of project
  documentation:
  – Poor documentation can sabotage an
    otherwise credible project.
  – Poor writing can severely limit if not eliminate
    a project manager’s career opportunities.
PROJECT-RELATED DOCUMENTATION

• Environmental projects:
  – are technically complex,
  – are long-term [usually more than 6 months],
  – involve the interaction of numerous stakeholders inside
    and outside of the project team and
  – utilize varied resources
PROJECT-RELATED DOCUMENTATION

• Oral communications are important but a
  written project record is essential to:
  – track project progress
  – verify/defend decisions and actions taken.
  – Document deliverables and
  – Receive credit [or payment]
PROJECT-RELATED DOCUMENTATION

• Written documents include:
  – anything relating to the project which is handwritten,
    typed, drafted, or electronically transmitted
  – formal reports and correspondence,
  – memoranda, and records of meetings, incidents,
    technical issues,
  – computations, project financial information, drawings,
    photographs.
• The project manager is responsible for all
  documentation.
       TYPICAL PROJECT
         DOCUMENTS
• Record of Verbal Communication (RVC)
• Memorandum For Record or Interoffice
  Memorandum
• Letter of Transmittal
• Letter
• Report
• Forms
 TEN ELEMENTS OF
TECHNICAL WRITING
1.   Accuracy
2.   Brevity
3.   Clarity
4.   Simplicity
5.   Emphasis
6.   ‘Concreteness’
7.   Unity and Coherence
8.   Objectivity
9.   Sensitivity
10   Aesthetic Appeal
        TEN ELEMENTS OF
       TECHNICAL WRITING
1. Accuracy Free from mechanical or factual
   mistakes. Accuracy is not easily achieved;
   it requires attention to detail and critical
   review by the writer.
2. Brevity Elimination of unnecessary words
   or data. Concise writing enhances clarity.
   Emphasize nouns and verbs; minimize
   adjectives, adverbs. Omit unnecessary
   modifiers. Present voluminous data and
   other supporting details in appendices and
   reference only as needed. Tables and
   figures help brevity.
       TEN ELEMENTS OF
      TECHNICAL WRITING
3. Clarity Correspondence should lack
ambiguity. A reader should understand what
the writer is trying to say with be no room for
misinterpretation. To enhance clarity:
–  avoid jargon;
–  minimize acronyms and abbreviations;
–  use short, simple sentences;
–  use the active voice;
–  place figures, tables and diagrams in close proximity
   to observations and conclusions
If clarity and brevity conflict, chose clarity.
         TEN ELEMENTS OF
        TECHNICAL WRITING
4. Simplicity means easy-to-follow patterns of
thought. A simple writing style:
   •   is easily understood
   •   avoids stilted, flowery, or colloquial words and phrases.
   •   contain only enough modifiers for clarity
   •   defines technical terms when first encountered.
   •   Introduces abbreviations and acronyms in complete form
       when first used.
       e.g., micrograms per liter (g/L), hydrochloric acid (HCl),
       underground storage tanks (USTs), Resource Conservation
       and Recovery Act (RCRA), Alabama Department of
       Environmental Management (ADEM).
       TEN ELEMENTS OF
      TECHNICAL WRITING
5. Emphasis means that the key conclusions or
arguments stand out from other points.
Emphasis can be achieved by:
– Arranging words and thoughts in subordinate clauses
  and word order so that important points stand out
  from supporting ideas.
– Structuring the format of the document to highlight
  ideas in headlines or boxes
– Use of the active voice over passive voice
       TEN ELEMENTS OF
      TECHNICAL WRITING
6. Concreteness Effective technical writing is
specific and precise. Concreteness is achieved
when:
– vague generalizations are avoided, and needed
  generalizations are supported with specific detail.
– words have single, specific, meanings;
– unfamiliar and abstract concepts are explained using
  comparisons, examples, and figures.
      TEN ELEMENTS OF
     TECHNICAL WRITING
7. Unity and Coherence means that the
correspondence follows a central theme and
‘hangs together’.
Unity is increased when:
– unrelated subject matters are removed. Two or more
  different subjects may warrant two or more
  communications.
– each paragraph addresses a single main idea. Each
  paragraph should have a topic sentence; as each
  report should have a statement of purpose.
           TEN ELEMENTS OF
          TECHNICAL WRITING
  Coherence is achieved by:
  – ordering units logically and
  – using transition words, phrases, and sentences to help
    the reader anticipate the thought path.


8. Objectivity means that the report is based entirely
  on measurements, not subjective opinions. The
  advantages and disadvantages of a course of
  action are supported with facts and data.
  Conclusions and recommendations follow logically
  from presented facts.
          TEN ELEMENTS OF
         TECHNICAL WRITING
9. Sensitivity     The document is written from the
  viewpoint of the readers, not the author.
  Good correspondence is sensitive to the reader; it
  is neither too formal nor too informal. The writer
  should create in the reader a sense of being
  informed, not of being patronized or cajoled.
  Correspondence intended to attack another
  party’s position or work should be carefully
  worded and not accusatory.
         TEN ELEMENTS OF
        TECHNICAL WRITING
10. Aesthetic Appeal The appearance of the
written work product will make an impression
before it is read. To improve aesthetics:
– Avoid dense, lengthy text.
– Create variety through the use of headings,
  subheadings, short paragraphs, tabulations, and
  figures.
– Use “bullets” and space to highlight a list of items rather
  than a paragraph of listed information.
– Vary sentence length, paragraph length, and order of
  exposition.
          PRACTICAL EXERCISE
  The field investigation consisted of grilling soil borings
  and installing groundwater monitoring wells.
  Specifically, 16 soil borings were drilled, and the
  boreholes were continuously sampled their full depths.
  After the borings were drilled , they were completed as
  groundwater monitoring wells. The locations of the 16
  boring/wells are shown on the boring plan, Figure 3.
  Three borings/wells were 40 feet deep, three were 50
  feet deep, three were 60 feet deep, and one was 70 feet
  deep. A tabulation of well completion data (ground
  surface elevation, top-of-casing elevation, well depth,
  and screen interval) is shown on Table 2. (97 words)
• Reduce the above text to a more succinct form.
PUTTING YOUR THOUGHTS ON
          PAPER

• The reader (your audience)
• Your purpose
• Word selection
• Sentence construction – remember to:
  –   Avoid comma splices
  –   Watch for misused modifiers
  –   Look for faulty pronoun reference
  –   Use parallel construction
  –   Check for subject-verb agreement
      PUTTING THOUGHTS ON
             PAPER
  –   Watch for missing prepositions
  –   Check for unity
  –   Watch for mixed construction
  –   Use predominantly short sentences
  –   Place emphasis where needed
  –   Avoid indirect phrasing
  –   Put qualifying words at the beginning
• Meaningful paragraphs
PUTTING THOUGHTS ON PAPER
• Know Your Audience Are you writing to
  a technically aware client, to the general
  public, or to members of your company
  staff? Tailor your writing accordingly.
• Define Your Purpose: Consider what
  you want to communicate and why. Is it
  to inform, inquire, direct, arouse, or
  influence?
 TIP: The opening paragraph should define
 the purpose, context, problem and solution
PUTTING THOUGHTS ON PAPER
• Select the Best Words Do not use arcane
  or overly sophisticated words. Instead,
  maximize use of common words to avoid
  pompous or stilted reports. Use a
  thesaurus to reduce repetition and improve
  word choice.
• Use Meaningful Words Avoid words and
  expressions that take up space and add nothing.
  Also, avoid ambiguous words that force the
  reader to guess what you are saying.
PUTTING THOUGHTS ON PAPER
• Avoid Loaded Words Stereotyping words
  implying bias towards age, race, or gender are
  particularly offensive.

  Loaded words can also include terms such as
   ‘pollution’ and ‘contamination’ Designations of
   “high” or “elevated” concentrations are not
   meaningful without a comparative reference .
PUTTING THOUGHTS ON PAPER
14 Tips on Sentence Construction:
1.   Avoid Comma Splices
2.   Watch for Misused Modifiers
3.   Look for Faulty Pronoun Reference
4.   Use Parallel Construction
5.   Be Complete
6.   Check for Subject - Verb Agreement
7.   Watch for Missing Prepositions
8.   Check for Unity
9.   Watch For Mixed Construction
PUTTING THOUGHTS ON PAPER
10. Use Predominantly Short Sentences
11. Place Emphasis Where Needed
12. Avoid Indirect Phrasing
13. Put Qualifying Words at the Beginning
14. Meaningful Paragraphs.
  MECHANICS OF WRITING
• Spelling (dictionaries, computer ”spell
  and grammar checks” , other references)
• Punctuation
• Capitalization
• Numbers

• References
WRITING PERSPECTIVE
• Write to inform and convince
• Accommodate backgrounds of readers
• Appeal to readers, e.g.,
  – Using section identifiers
  – Using (lists) within text
  – Using tables and graphics
• Anticipate criticism
• Be sensitive to liability issues and
  Write in anticipation of litigation
      USE OF GRAPHICS
• The appeal of graphics (figures, photos)
• The appropriateness of graphics
• Use of computer-generated drafting and
  design
• Planning ahead
     "LOOSE CANNONS"
            7-1
Will Douhit, S&D project manager, received a
call from Ima Turney, with the law firm of
Turney, Turney, and Turney, requesting
information. Douhit was asked to check the
project correspondence record for the ERU
(Turney's client) law suit filed five years
previously by the Greendale Action Group
(GAG). Specifically, Turney wanted a copy of
the communication between S&D and the
State Environmental Agency (SEA)
      "LOOSE CANNONS"
             7-1
confirming SEA's recognition that the
wastewater effluent exceedance problem was
handled in a timely fashion and in the manner
established by SEA. She pointed out that this
communication was critical to ERU's case
and would have pre-dated the GAG suit.
Douhit, who had not been involved in the
project until his arrival at S&D four years ago,
said he would get back with Turney and
      "LOOSE CANNONS"
             7-1
began searching for the record of the
communication. Later, after diligent
searching of active and inactive files, he was
convinced there was no record. He then
attempted contact with the previous project
manager, Sie Anarra, only to find he had left
the country two years ago to become a
Tibetan monk. Douhit pondered what to tell
Turney.
         WHAT ARE WILL’S OPTIONS??
      "LOOSE CANNONS"
             7-2
A cold sweat broke out on Melvin's forehead.
As project manager for the ERU groundwater
assessment project, it was now time to write
his summary report of the 18 month project.
He had looked good so far, and he knew the
senior staff was impressed. He didn't want to
blow it now. But, he remembered Professor
Goblonsky's composition class and
perspiration dripped off his nose.

       HOW CAN YOU RETAIN, IMPROVE
            WRITING SKILLS??

								
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