Practical Specification and Technical Writing for Engineers and Technical People

 

THE WORKSHOP

Researching and preparing technical documents, especially technical specifications, calls for much effort and time. This workshop is designed to give you step by step guidance to writing these documents in a professional manner, working within a cost and time framework.

The workshop will demonstrate techniques to establishing more effective communication between technical and non-technical staff and foster skills relating to problem identification and solutions, plus enhancing skills in information seeking, research and organising collected data in a non-conflicting, unambiguous manner.

 

WHAT IS INCLUDED?

  • Receive a certificate of attendance in support of your continuing professional commitment
  • All workshops include the associated hardcopy technical manual
  • Printed workshop handouts
  • Lunch and refreshments
  • Interact and network with workshop attendees and experienced instructors
  • Practical, industry driven content to assist you in your continuing professional development (CPD)
  • Attendees automatically become IDC subscribers and receive exclusive deals and technical content every month

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

  • Engineering professionals (e.g. project and design engineers)
  • Maintenance planning staff
  • Maintenance/supervisory managers
  • Project team members in: manufacturing, process industries, tendering, contracting, marketing, procurement, feasibility study, research and development, utilities and local authorities
  • Technical personnel

 

CONTENT SUMMARY

INTRODUCTION TO TECHNICAL WRITING

  • Fundamentals of technical writing (clear, concise, accurate)

FORMATS OF TECHNICAL WRITING

  • Formal report
  • Technical memo reports
  • Technical proposals
  • Equipment/maintenance manuals
  • Journal articles

TYPES OF TECHNICAL REPORTS

  • Periodic
  • Progress
  • Research
  • Recommendation
  • Field
  • Feasibility

COMPILING THE REPORT

  • Establish a framework
  • Terms of reference
    • Subject matter
    • Purpose for writing it
    • Reader of the report

STRUCTURE OF A TECHNICAL REPORT

  • Main sections
    • Introduction
    • Findings
    • Observations
    • Discussions
    • Conclusion
    • Recommendations
    • Executive summary
  • Elements of technical writing
    • Factual versus opinion
    • Logical flow of writing
    • Results of research
  • Other sections
    • Title page
    • Table of contents
    • Lists
    • Appendices
    • References
      Case Study: Developing awareness of fact and opinion and substantiating opinions with facts
      Practical Session: Determining terms of reference and writing an introduction

DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

  • Preparing to write (establish a writing objective)
  • Identify readers
  • Perform necessary research (including interviewing skills, listening process, note taking, reading process)
  • Organising the report
  • Methods of development (general to specific, specific to general, chronological, sequential, cause and effect, comparison, spatial)
  • Overview of conclusion/recommendations section
    Practical Session: Applying the four stage reading process, group discussion on conclusion and recommendations

REPORT OUTLINE

  • Mind mapping
  • Outline formats (academic and engineering outline styles)
  • Rough draft
  • Revising the report
  • Activate the writing (correct grammar, language, expressions and units of measures)
  • Simplify the writing (word/sentence/paragraph lengths, fog index)
    Practical Session: Investigating faulty construction methods. Participants to research design faults and problem areas. Make observations/findings, mind map and write a rough draft

FINALISING THE REPORT

  • Report appearance
    • White space
    • Headings/sub-headings
    • Colour
    • Illustrations
    • Graphic material
      Practical Session: Interpreting graphic material, graphic presentation

VERBAL PRESENTATION OF YOUR REPORT

  • Preparing your presentation, using the report as guideline
  • Formulating the central message
  • Arranging the ideas, facts and supportive arguments logically
  • Mind mapping technique
  • Make a positive impact (appearance, gestures, eye contact, body language, style of speaking)
  • Using visual aids effectively (types of visual aid equipment, using the equipment correctly)
  • Maximising delivery (fielding questions, managing answers, handling difficult situations, short talk guidelines, impromptu sessions)
    Practical Session: Delivery of a two minute presentation (each delegate delivers a presentation on a particular aspect of the technical report)

SPECIFICATION WRITING

  • Fundamentals of specification writing
  • Preparing the specification (customer, market, risk, product, scope)
  • Specification database (basic specification information, organising input from different specialists and sources)
    Practical Session: Brainstorming exercise, creating a specification data input sheet

STRUCTURE OF TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Master format (correct numbering and titling)
  • Section format
    • Section 1: Administration – definitions, descriptions, quality assurance, warranties; Procedures – delivery, storage, handling; Maintenance – extra materials required, service
    • Section 2: Product information including manufacturer’s details, materials, equipment requirements, system requirements
    • Section 3: Execution of the specification (preparation, installation, quality control, training)
      Practical Session: Format outline

SPECIFICATIONS AND CONTRACTS

  • Securing a contractor
  • Contract
  • User manual
  • Review checklist

SPECIFICATIONS AND THE PRODUCT

  • Detailed descriptions
  • Standards
  • Performance
  • Property rights

SPECIFICATIONS AND STATEMENTS OF WORK

  • Services
  • Products
    Practical Session: Writing specification clauses

CHECKING THE SPECIFICATION

  • Functional language correctness
  • Theory
  • Prototypes
  • Realistic specifications
  • Compliance test
  • Evaluation criteria
    Practical Session: Editing the specification

TYPES OF SPECIFICATIONS

  • Government specifications and standards
  • Industry standards
  • Specifications for complex goods and services
  • Performance, design and cancelled specifications
    Practical Session: Creating a specification template

WRITING THE SPECIFICATION

  • Time and cost framework, collaboration with other purchasers, using consultants and specialists, liaison with industry, specific and non-specific requirements, tiering of specifications, reviewing specifications, constructive changes, errors in specifications, conflicting requirements, data requirements, warranties, tolerances, specification approval and authorisation, configuration management, hazardous materials, conflicting requirements, setting clear limits, property disposal, quantities, performance and design, outline responsibilities, professionalism
    Practical Session: Writing the specification

QUALITY DEPLOYMENT FUNCTION

  • Historical background, management and planning tools, customer requirements, technical requirements, planning matrix (customer perceptions), interrelationship between technical and customer requirements, technical requirements versus product design, technical priorities and targets, QFD template
    Practical Session: Using the QFD template as a specification design tool

DOS AND DON’TS OF SPECIFICATION WRITING

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