Technical writing – How to write project accountability documents

As part of drafting the overall project scope, a technical author must first prepare the accountability documentation. This document, which can also be considered a “business case”, sets out the basic reasons for the implementation of the project. Here’s a simple guide to creating a project report.

Name the problem

Companies don’t run projects for fun; they run them to solve a specific problem or problems. You should describe the problem clearly and accurately at the beginning of your document so that you can then present the solution to that problem.

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

Indicate the solution

This should be a simple statement to define your project. This allows your reader to understand what you are proposing.

“We plan to implement an automated HRMS system to cut manual administration in half.”

Provide supporting information

The problem and solution will not justify your project to the stakeholders and decision makers, so you need to provide the right level of information to allow them to support your recommendation.

Examples of the kind of information to use:

  • Market demand – Not always the strongest argument, but if you can demonstrate that all of your competitors are implementing similar systems, it certainly suggests that it is worth considering in your organization.
  • Easy need – In this example, the business need is clear, the HR team spends most of their working time on non-specialist tasks and that costs money.
  • Customer requirements – what are your customers crying out for? Don’t forget to include both internal and external clients.
  • Technological advancement – what is happening in the world around you, are there convincing arguments for the way IT and systems develop?
  • Legal – Don’t forget the all-important legal obligation, if you can demonstrate that your project delivers compliance or makes it easier to meet 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 life cycle of your project to help you obtain funding and support. You will also be able to clearly identify the objectives of your task so that team members can convey a clear message.