Make better documents

This has been shared around quite a bit over the past couple of weeks, but Anil Dash has written another[1] modern classic in Make better documents. Excellent advice all around, including:

Similar to the importance of sequencing and order, you almost always want to start by clearly and simply stating your conclusion, or declaring your request or question. Very often, people feel a lot of anxiety about the need to preface their big dramatic point with lots of build-up. But you almost never want to be building dramatic tension in a professional context; this isn’t a thriller where you’re trying to surprise them with twists and turns.


Similarly, you’ll want to constrain your requests to your audience to be something they can react to constructively. “Do we want to invest at the higher cost of Option A to move faster, or go with the lower cost of Option B to be more cautious?” That’s an answerable question! And it’s perfectly fine if it leads to a conversation where a third option is explored — but you never would have gotten there with a prompt that says, “What do we want to do next?”