Truth 30. Organizing complex projects isn’t that hard

Elaine, assistant manager of an environmental services company, was handed a challenge: a dense, disorganized, and meandering “white paper” (a report on a major issue) that dealt with an important aspect of the firm’s work, remediating polluted lakes and ponds. Her assignment: “Fix it.” Where to start?

It’s always easiest and most efficient to plan a substantial writing project in advance, before plunging into the research and actual writing. But sometimes a project just grows out of hand. At other times, you’ve already accumulated masses of information on the subject and, paradoxically, knowing so much can be paralyzing. And sometimes, like Elaine, you’re handed a half-baked document and ...

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