One of the worst opening paragraphs I have ever read

close-up-of-worker-writing-a-report_1098-3844I found this paragraph at the beginning of an executive summary of a business case to introduce cloud based software development:

The current approach to production and non-production environments based on legacy and physical infrastructure has been associated with a number of issues that warrant improvements to drive efficiencies and ensure a foundation for improved working practices including the potential for higher rates of cadence and overall capacity for change.

This 50 word sentence is the first thing the reader encounters. It doesn’t say much, and it certainly does not draw the reader in. It’s vague and general, abstract and wordy. Perhaps written more to impress than communicate.

A business case needs to hook your readers immediately – you’ve got just a few seconds of reading to highlight the pain you will remove or the opportunity you will exploit. It’s important to talk about business, not technology. Start with what your readers know and understand and are passionate about: introduce new concepts and ideas later.

Here’s the improved opening paragraph.

The ability to make changes to our business is being held back by our technology and the way we manage it. Our technology is robust and sound, delivering significant capability that serves our customers well. But making changes, responding to customer needs and taking advantage of emerging opportunities, is costly, slow and cumbersome. Even small changes require a significant effort, and may take months to implement.