SOR 509 Reliability Engineering Report Writing
Chris discusses reliability engineering report writing (yuck). Pretty boring topic. But not nearly as boring as some of the reliability engineering reports. I will (try to) make this as entertaining a podcast as possible. And I will explain the golden rule of engineering report writing – make it a ‘reverse thriller.’ Keen to learn more? Then please listen!
Join Chris as he discusses some of the key things to consider when writing an engineering report. Engineers often dedicate a lot of time, effort and emotion into running tests, doing analyses and so on. BUT … we must resist the temptation to take our readers on the same journey we went through. They are focused on your destinations and conclusions – not your journey and rationale.
- Golden rule … write reliability engineering reports like a REVERSE THRILLER! Thrillers are books and movies that incrementally build suspense until some incredible secret or unsuspecting murderer is revealed in the last few pages or scenes. But our book and movie audience wants the suspense to build. Not the readers of your report. You must start with the ‘incredible secret’ so the reader of your report knows why they should keep reading.
- Don’t forget why we write reports – decision-making! We don’t write reports to generally inform people – or to satisfy requirements. The reader of your report is looking for information to make a decision. Not suspense.
- Reliability engineering reports (and their reading) are not fun. Don’t fight this.
- The first thing in your report should be the point you are trying to make. If your report supports a recommendation or decision to (for example) extend the warranty period for a product … then say this first. This motivates your reader. They know why they should keep reading.
- But I need to have rigor and detail to show that I know what I am talking about! This is very true. But your explanation and rationale need to come after the point you are trying to make. Your decision-maker will typically not have the time to decipher your conclusion for themselves. Have the main point up front – and then your decision-maker (or your decision-makers staff) can check that you know what you are talking about with the supporting data and analysis in the following pages and appendices.
- Don’t write your report as a journal of your study or analysis. Don’t write a report that takes the reader on a journey from ‘day 1,’ through tests A – Z, detailed descriptions of all the issues you came up against before FINALLY revealing the main point of the analysis. Your audience has already put your report down by this stage! Remember, these reports aren’t entertainment. No one is paying to ‘enjoy’ your report. They want the report to help their decision-making.
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