Technical Writing – How to Write Project Justification Documents

As part of building the overall project scope a technical author will first need to lay out the justification documentation. This document which can also be considered a “business case” lays out the fundamental reasons for implementing the project. Here’s a simple guide on creating a project justification.

State the Problem

Businesses don’t carry out projects for fun; they perform them in order to solve a specific issue or issues. You need to describe the problem clearly and accurately at the start of your document so that you can then present the solution to that problem.

For example if you intend to implement a new HRMS (Human Resource Management System) your problem may be; “The HR team currently spends nearly 80% of its time on non-productive administrative tasks, reducing the effectiveness of the function dramatically.”

State the Solution

This should be a simple statement to define your project. This enables your reader to understand what it is you’re proposing.

“We intend to implement an automated HRMS system to reduce manual administration by half.”

Supply Supporting Information

The problem and solution aren’t going to justify your project to the stakeholders and decision makers, so you need to provide the right level of information to enable them to support your recommendation.

Examples of the kind of information you should use:

  • Market Demand – Not always the strongest argument, but if you can show that all your competitors are implementing similar systems, it certainly suggests that it may be worth considering in your organisation.
  • Business Need – In this example the business need is clear, the HR team are spending the majority of their work time on non-specialist tasks and that costs money.
  • Customer Demands - what is it that your customers are screaming out for? Don’t forget to include internal customers as well as external ones.
  • Technological Progression – what’s going on in the world around you, is there are compelling case to be told in terms of the way IT and systems are developing?
  • Legal – Don’t forget the all important obligation to the law, if you can show that your project brings compliance or makes it easier to comply with those requirements you have a stronger case.

Writing a business case or project justification is an essential part of the larger project scoping process. Ideally you should write this early in the lifecycle of your project to help you obtain funding and support. You will also then be able to clearly identify the objectives of your task so that team members have a clear message to take away.

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Cheap Holiday Deals to Stalis Provide Perfect Holidays For All

Family holidays to Stalis are about as popular as couples holidays, beach holidays, 18 – 30′s holidays, and mature holidays to Stalis. In fact, it is difficult to find a group that can’t appreciate holidays spent in Stalis. Greek island holidays seldom have as much to offer visitors as you will find in the resort of Stalis-a resort that offers a little bit of everything you could possibly want from a beach holiday and a little bit more.

First of all, you should check out various package holidays to Stalis. You might be able to learn a little more about the possibilities that holidays to Stalis present for the entire family simply by taking in the long list of package options that are available to you. More importantly, in these economic times, packages are a great way to make cheap holiday deals to Stalis and other locations on Crete.

The nightlife in Stalis is rather lively though not nearly as dominating as the nightlife and club activities are in Malia. Stalis is a more well-rounded option for holiday fun than those resorts that are designed to appeal to party crowds or even those that attract more mature holiday crowds. What you have in Stalis is a healthy mix that makes it a worthy choice for family holidays.

The beaches of Stalis provide excellent opportunities for families that enjoy beach holidays and are content to spend the entire time on the beach. There is much more to this charming resort than a few beaches though so you don’t risk running out of things to do. Popular excursions to enjoy from Stalis include mini trains to Malia, boat trips to Santorini, and the traditional villages that can be found further inland. Greek island holidays are about experiencing the best Greece has to offer. Don’t miss out on the cultural treasure chest waiting for you away from the primary resorts.

Cheap holiday deals to Stalis are a great way to enjoy the very best of Crete. Don’t miss out on package holidays and prices that are lower in price now than they have been in years. Family holidays to Stalis may be the perfect way for you and your family to enjoy Greek island holidays. Make your plans today and you could be enjoying the beautiful views and gorgeous waters of Crete before you know it.

Can You Really Lose As Much Weight As a ‘Big Loser’ Each Week – And Would You Want To?

With shows like the Biggest Loser getting massive reviews and viewer numbers, clearly its hitting a chord with the general public. The show encourages massive weight loss on a weekly basis. How do we know how much is a reasonable amount of weight to lose? Is it true that you can only lose half a kilo per week. Let's take a look at what is realistic – and achievable – for you …

First off, is it really possible to drop fat as quickly as the contestants on The Biggest Loser? Can the man on the street (or you :) take these kind of losses without a team of trainers, nutritionists and camera men following their every move? Or are the massive and speedy losses on the show nothing more than clever marketing and a not-so-subtublic manipulation of the viewer?

I did a little research to find out just how much weight some of our contestants have stacked up. At the time of my research the show was airing Week 11. Here's a summary of total weight loss for the final four contestants at that time:

Sam: just over 40kg (88 pounds)
Cosi: close to 48kg (105.6 pounds)
Alison: around 36kg (79.2 pounds)
Gary: close to 59kg (129.8 pounds)

The weekly weight loss (divided by 11 just to keep it simple, although obviously they would have lost different amounts each week) is shown here:

Sam: 3.63 kg p / week (7.9 pounds)
Cosi: 4.36 kg p / week (9.6 pounds)
Alison: 3.27 kg p / week (7.2 pounds)
Gary: 5.36 kg p / week (11.8 pounds)

Just in case you're interested, this averages out at a body weight percentage loss of around 2.8 weekly. If you matched this to the 'average' 70kg woman, that would equate to 1.96kg per week, and for a 90kg man it would be around 2.66kg per week.

Does not sound like too much, really, does it? I'm sure many readers out there would be thrilled to lose this amount of weight each week, and not necessarily consider it extreme.

But let's think about that. In my experience most of you have heard over and over that healthy weight loss is around 0.5-1kg per week. In fact, every health expert, resource or study I've mentioned that a 'healthy' (as in mainly fat, and sustainable) amount of weight loss is just that – around half a kilo per week for women, and 1 kilo for men. Extremely overweight people are said to be able to lose 1.5 kg per week.

If we take this as a gospel (for now), then clearly the BL contestants are losing weight much faster than they should be in order to keep it off. According to Anne Collins, fat loss expert extraordinaire,

'When we lose weight we do not just lose fat. We lose a combination of body fat, and muscle tissue. Studies show that when we diet, the weight we lose is on average 75 percent fat and 25 percent muscle. (Also) remember water accounts for about 70 percent of the total body weight of an average person, with muscle tissue containing roughly 75 percent water (plus 20 percent protein and 5 percent minerals), and body fat containing roughly 50 percent water. '

How is this relevant?

When you lose weight quickly, your body will shed muscle and water before it lets go of fat stores. This is because your body views rapid weight loss as a threat to your survival – your physiology assumes that you must be low on resources (food), or on the run. Why else would you starve or over-exercise yourself?

In order to preserve life (yours!) Your very intelligent body gets rid of the less important stuff – like muscle. Yep, that's the metabolism boosting stuff in case you forgot. After all, fat stores will keep you alive for longer.

So the long and short of it is that losing weight too quickly will not only mean you lose muscle and water over fat, but you will also (at least semi) permanently lower your resting metabolic rate, meaning that the same amount of food you used to eat will cause you to gain more weight.

This is where the concept of the 'yo-yo effect' comes in to play – the idea (reality) that most diets result in a bounce-back effect that leaves the sorry soul in question more overweight than when they started.

NOT good.

But that's not really the full story. Here's where it gets even more confusing (or interesting, for the thinkers among you).

o If your body is under a lot of stress, you can not safely lose weight. Basically, your body will not allow you to. This is because stress is a threat to your survival – and your body can not distinguish between our modern day stress of a demanding job or unsettled relationship, and the stress of a threat on your life. Therefore, your body views all stress as a threat to your survival – and attempts to give you a fighting chance by keeping a protective layer of fat that will not go away regardless of what you eat or how you exercise.

o According to William W. Wolcott, author of The Metabolic Typing Diet, 'It is not uncommon for people to gain weight in response to stress. Weight gain literally represents a protective layer, an insulator, against the pain and suffering of the stress. In such cases, diet, nutrition, and exercise are powerless to resolve the problem '. Solution: put steps into place to detoxify stress. This includes eating correctly, but also taking time out.

o Ironically, cutting back calories to an extreme or doing high amounts of cardio exercise can also prevent you losing weight.

o Even if you are losing weight at the 'safe' rate of, you will still find your lean muscle mass decreases to some extent. In the long run this means you will lower your metabolism and possibly gain weight back. The only way to counteract this is to perform resistance exercise. I'd recommend at least 1-2 half hour sessions per week, for maintenance, or more if you're looking to gain a significant amount of muscle.

o A final spark of hope – Over the years I have known clients to 'lean up' in an incredibly fast manner. Without losing a significant amount of muscle – and I'm not just talking abut extremely overweight people. I'm going to finish this article with my hot tips for maximizing weight loss from fat.

MAXIMISE YOUR FAT LOSS

1. Eat correctly. Trust me on this – pill popping is NOT how the human body achieves true health and weight loss. Choose natural, minimally processed sources of carbohydrates, fat and protein.

2. Sleep correctly. Numerous studies have shown that building up a sleep debt will result in rampant stress hormones that cause your body to store fat. Regardless of how you eat or exercise. I've written many articles on the topic myself.

3. Think correctly. I do not care how 'airy fairy' this sounds – your thoughts do have power. If you believe and tell yourself that you can not lose weight, you WILL NOT lose weight. Positive thinking on its own may not cut it, but it sure is not going to hurt. Build confidence and promote positive action by telling yourself that you can and will improve your health and weight.

4. Reduce stress. We've spoken about how stress hormones cause you to store fat. If you really can not change your lifestyle, put steps into place to relax and recuperate. Using your one free hour pounding the treadmill is not always the best option. But ask yourself this. Can you REALLY not change your lifestyle? If your life depended on it I bet you would walk out of the job, relationship, situation or whatever it might be. Guess what? Your life does depend on it.

I guess when all is said and done, the rapid weight loss of Biggest Loser contestants may not be possible or ideal for most people. This next I believe the show does a brilliant job of inspiring people to reach, to fight, to do whatever it takes to achieve their dreams. I think if you asked them, the BL contestants would tell you that they had definitely been living life.

How 'bout you?

Life is Now. Press Play.

Top 11 Reasons to Use Social Media in Business

Over the past few years, to say social media has exploded would be an understatement. Members of social media sites have discovered it's the easiest way to find, learn about, and share information that directly influences their purchasing decisions. It is this reason alone that every business should be on multiple social media sites in an effort to reach as many people as possible.

Below are the top 11 reasons to use social media in business:

  1. Build relationships – personal and professional; connect with all types of people – past and present coworkers, current clients, prospects, vendors, competitors, and marketing professionals to build your network
  2. Share your blog posts; share interesting and useful articles, other blogs, webinars, podcasts, presentations, and poll / survey results with your fan base
  3. Gather valuable information – research similar products / services, competitors, prospects, marketing tips, blog ideas, create your own poll / survey – the amount of information available is endless
  4. Join a social network of like-minded individuals or start a new interest group where you can further brand your product / service, build relationships, and share ideas and information
  5. Stay current with the latest trends – write a blog or join a discussion on a trending topic; become aware of new social media sites that might fit the needs of your business
  6. Land a great new job – using your new connections on various social media sites, you can get the inside scoop on companies that are hiring, as well as resume and interview tips
  7. Discover a new passion in life, become a volunteer, or start a fundraising event
  8. Get found by prospects by using inbound marketing tactics – spread the word about your product / service through social media sites; to form a complete marketing plan, combine this with outbound techniques (interruptive marketing)
  9. Build business reputation and brand – constantly add value to all your posts and become a trustworthy leader in your industry; to quote Bob Burg, "All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust."
  10. Build a marketing department inexpensively – for start-ups, employing inbound marketing tactics is a cheap way to start marketing your product / service; most social media sites are free to join, while others have a minimal monthly or annual fee
  11. Help increase conversion rates – use social media and inbound marketing to steer more organic traffic to your website and convert more leads into sales; the average conversion rate is 2.3%, but varies by industries according to ClickZ, Marketing News & Expert Advice, http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/1691779/benchmarking-average-conversion-rate .

I recommend choosing a useful of sites to manage and start getting your feet wet. Not every social media site available will be right for you or your business and it would overwhelming to try them all. For example, consistently maintaining a blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ pages, a YouTube channel, as well as a Twitter account might be a great place to start. Depending on the type of business, a Pinterest, Tumblr, or Flickr account might or may not be worthwhile, but obviously they are great certain brands.

If you need help getting started, there are countless different types of resources. I have used the An Hour a Day book series on Facebook Marketing, Twitter Marketing, and Social Media Marketing. They address each entity in a step-by-step fashion that is very user-friendly. I also find Hubspot to be extremely helpful. They are continuously publishing user guides that contain valuable information, tips, and tricks. Lastly, when creating your profile on the various social media sites that best fit your marketing plan, it's a good idea to connect with other marketers to check out what they are doing to boost business.

Do you have a tip or trick to share with newcomers to social media? Share it with us; you are more than welcome to post questions and / or comments here!