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This information is intended to convey the underlying concepts for Reclamation's decision processes. It is not mandatory.
See the Reclamation Manual for official Reclamation-wide requirements.

Reclamation's Decision Process Guide


go through page Why? / What? / Go On

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navigate in the page--Why?

The action plan is the backbone for the process.

When written clearly and concisely, documents:

  • Help minimize confusion and ensure everyone is on the same track.
  • Provide a tangible reason for your existence
  • Explain what you are doing and why
  • Develop a basis for credibility, support, and commitment from decisionmakers
  • Cut down on conflict and build consent

Provide a paper trail.

Those who do not document are doomed to repeat earlier mistakes.

Documents are a group project, but need to convey ideas in a similar tone, style, and manner so readers can find what they need quickly. A designated writer can coordinate various inputs and create a cohesive product. You may also need to edit a document in a group setting to ensure everyone consents to the language and content.

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navigate in the page--What?

Don't write in a vacuum! Be aware of what has already been accomplished and use what was done earlier to serve as a basis for what is done now. Cumulatively build each document toward assisting in solving problems. ( e.g. A concept bullet list of what is in a previous report can present things better than a repetition or even a detailed quote.)

When writing, consider:

Ensure that the document does what it needs to do. Ask: What do I want readers to do or to understand when they finish reading? Keep this firmly in place as you develop the document.
Analysis and Assumptions
Discuss these before writing the document to ensure that everyone is working together for the same goal.
Decisions and Actions
Agree on what actions the document will cover and how the document will present information needed for what purpose.
Develop and agree on outlines so that all the material that needs to be covered is in place and that the document does its job.
Ensure that the content, level of detail, tone, and vocabulary match what the audience needs to know and their background. Consider different sections for different audiences (e.g., decisionmakers and team leaders will be interested in the summary of imopacts, while technical experts will be more interested in discussion of methodology and details in the appendix).
Have people who are not familiar with the project read the document to ensure that you have covered material in a clear, understandable way (e.g., peer reviews).

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word count. Strunk and White, The Elements of Style*definition

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navigate in the page--Go On

Handyman's Tourcompass for handyman's tour Hurdles Chart <----->Reclamation's Role/Mission

See also documenting tools in the Toolbox.

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GeneralKeep On Track

SpecificOn the Fly Editing

PreviousReality Checks

NextBudget Guide

Please contact Deena Larsen 303-445-2584 with questions or comments on this material.