What started as one of the most challenging “reports” I every “wrote” turned out to be one of the most rewarding in terms of telling a story.
The project was a requirements analysis for a Japanese automobile company with sales and manufacturing facilities here in the US. It covered the flow of data and parts across four countries and three divisions. The assignment specified that the final report would be no more than three 11”x17 pages. One as-is flowchart, one to-be flowchart and one for text about the problem, scope, assumptions, alternatives, etc.
My assumption that the graphics were a way to bridge language barriers was partly true. More important, it was a way to force clarity about the present processes and the requirements for the future system. If two or three small graphics, an arrow or two and a very brief label weren’t clear to my readers then I wasn’t as clear as I needed to be about a particular step.
Received high marks from the client for the story. They loved the outcome since I proved that the best solution was a change in procedures rather than a new system. Rewarding in terms of telling a story and delivering value to the client, but not in terms of follow on.