Inverted Status

Gopal Kapur wrote an interesting piece in ComputerWorld on writing project status reports in inverted pyramid style — starting with the facts, their effect on the project, the solution, if any, and then the explanation or reason behind the facts — a reversal of the normal method of status reporting, which generally starts with the explanation up-front. Gopal explains how communciation is improved by putting the details, or the heart of the issue, first.

To illustrate his point, he describes how he taught this method of reporting to his children and how it was tested one night when they received a phone call from his son, who was late returning home:

”Dad, I’m OK; the bull is dead.”

He goes on to explain how his son continued, providing further details, indicating he had been in an automobile accident and where it was located.
Naturally, the rest of the article revolves around the reporting process, which is interesting enough. But having read the article completely through at least twice, I find that I’m left with an overwhelming and troubling question: What about the bull?!?

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