As planners and engineers, you spend a lot of time analyzing data and developing technical solutions to solve problems. Consulting firms and public agencies bring together teams of experts from highly-specialized technical fields – environmental planning, traffic forecasting, surveying, roadway and bridge design, geotechnical engineering, financial forecasting, CPM scheduling, materials testing, inspection, etc. – to plan, design, and deliver projects that meet user needs. While these team members may be technical rock stars, they may not be as comfortable with or good at preparing the related documents that are often required to “show their work” and justify important decisions such as alternatives development and selection, project design recommendations, or change order approvals/rejections.
Effectively explaining all your technical work in writing is not as easy as it sounds. Add in the pressures of maintaining budgets and schedules, meeting public and elected official expectations, and protecting your company or agency from lawsuits and other risks, and it can be downright intimidating and unpleasant. (Some may even have four-letter words for it).
Even so, sound technical writing is a critical element of successful planning and engineering work.
Great technical writing benefits you. It helps:
Establish your credibility as a knowledgeable and qualified professional.
Build trust and connection with stakeholders, making you and your client look good.
Avoid constantly fighting fires, so you can focus on advancing the project.
Convey a clear and convincing message to the people you need for support and/or financing of your project, giving your project a leg-up in the competition for limited resources.
Without these elements, even your most brilliant technical analyses and solutions can get lost or shelved. Worse yet, your company or agency can lose its credibility and set itself up for costly disputes with contractors, upset stakeholders, and professional liability issues.
Foresight demystifies and simplifies technical writing to preserve your technical experts’ sanity and make sure all your hard work isn’t ignored or misunderstood.
In a new series of upcoming blog posts, we’ll focus on tips that we have found to be extremely effective for improving technical documents, including:
Knowing Your Audience and Purpose
Using Time and Words Wisely
Every project has challenges. Some can break your budget or schedule. We're Foresight. We use innovation and practical expertise to proactively address challenges before they occur, delivering project success.