PROJECT MANAGEMENT ENCE-7323 CLASS 8 March 17, 2003 Carl E. Edlund 214-665-8124 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org 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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