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“I need 3 pages on the rise and fall of the Roman Empire”
“Give me 5 pages on the Underground Railroad”
“Well, just for that, make it 10 pages on owls” (this really did happen after mistakenly asking Sister Judith “who?”)
In addition, to sitting up straight, keeping our hands to ourselves and forming a single file, we have been historically taught to communicate based on length. How many late nights in high school did you spend stretching your 2 page thought to 3 pages? The preponderance of length now negatively affects the way we professionally communicate.
Recently, I was blog coaching a group of amazing professionals. Their ideas were off the chain. Yet, the first question I was asked, was how long should it be. Suddenly, I’m quoting the professor I loathed: “as long as it needs to be to get your point across.”
Meh. I hated that line.
Therein lies the professional conundrum of bloated content created daily based solely on the dated mantra that bigger is better. If Floyd the business analyst wrote a 545 page spec, then surely he has been working hard and the project is abundantly significant.
Or is it?
Some of the most impressive projects I have seen, particularly in agile development, stem from 1 page specifications detailing the workload for the current sprint.
I have a mental catalog of dozens of instances where the less written, the more effective the project.
But you know what? I’m going to shut the hell up.
After all, I got my point across.