As engineers, we need to write reports all the time.
Are ours getting returned by reviewers frequently?
Or are we not getting any feedback and are not sure when our report is 'done'?
We explore the spirits of technical writing past, present, and future - they help us to write for ALL of our audiences. We explore how and why in the episode.
Engineers need to write stuff down. It's part of the job description and part of our responsibilities. With any writing, we want to think of the audience, but we can expand that to ensure that our technical writing is the best that it can be. We can write in the spirit of the past, present, and future.
The spirit of technical writing past: Think of your knowledge base from 6 months to a year prior - would you be able to understand what you just wrote? Try to remove yourself from within the midst of the project - take a step back.
The spirit of technical writing present: Who are all the people that are reading this report now or tomorrow? Your team, management, or independent reviewers? People need to have enough information captured in the report so they understand what we've done and can decide if they agree with the conclusion, need to see more tests or a different analysis, and then make a decision.
The spirit of technical writing future: Think of another engineer 10 years from the time that we're writing our report. They have the same technical knowledge as we do. We want to write our technical writings so that they can duplicate our results or understand the conclusion that we made and how we got there.
We can use these spirits as we're writing, and we can also run our final drafts through the filters of the spirits. Doing so will help us communicate our technical expertise to others.