Accomplishment beyond what can be achieved working alone requires people to cooperate. This involves combining individual product. The activities require speaking and writing to generate skill at teamwork.

Teamwork begins with convincing people that something is worth doing. The first organization task is agreeing on a group of partners and their work. The test of that accomplishment is generating a short joint Project Description. This is really a draft of an abstract, or summary, that will appear in a final report.

Any description occupies no more than a page. It is usually a short paragraph. Sometimes two or three paragraphs can serve. A description exists to tell a naive reader what kind of work is being done. Doing this well can contribute to the next job: crafting an overview of the project. This is a section that goes into a report at the beginning: it is an introduction. Both the introduction and the abstract are sections of a report that should be free of jargon, abbreviations and acronyms that aren't familiar words. They are to be clear and understandable by a general or non-technical reader.

An outline is the basic document to organize the work and present an overall statement about what is being done. It is analogous to a table of contents in a finished report. Today in the business world most formal presentations or talks about work use a computer software tool that starts with compiling an outline. The essential feature of that tool is using graphical tools to revise the hierarchy in an outline. That is something that groups may need since frequently people come to recognize that some work done can serve the overall task better if placed differently within the general body of material.

Presentations or talks about work are one way that a manager keeps aware of the progress on a job. One kind of project talk goes over an outline that tells the audience about the overall effort. Other kinds describe a portion of the task and what has been either thought about or actually accomplished there.

All presentations benefit from use of visuals. While an outline is visual the approach to focus on is creating diagrams, tables, and figures. They expand on the word description and show something. Table 1 below is a list of some numerical approximations to the circle circumference to diameter ratio. It can be a starting point for additional visual designs, for example, regarding percent error from the true irrational number.

Six Rational Approximations to Pi
3 3.14
22/7 = 3.142857 3.14159
355/113 = 3.14159292(2143/22)1/4 = 3.141592653*

*Sharp EL-520L calculator, 10 decimal places display; Expression due to Ramanujan; See [5] for his life, [3] for the approximation.

Table 1. Circle Constant Values and Background

There are many ways to take even the limited information in Table 1 into a visual. Whether a graphical chart displays the information by a graph, series of bars, or fraction of a pie, each differs significantly from the tabled mostly-numerical symbols above. Still, a visual is only a tool for a talk. The ultimate use of the visually organized and displayed information is its presence in a written report. There it becomes a figure.

Some of the things present in Table 1 are essential items to make a visual into a figure. They are titles, explanatory keys, and correct attribution. For example, "Six ... Pi" at the top tells different things than "Circle ... Background." Use of both allows communicating more. The presence of both is essential: the top title is the first thing seen; the bottom entry also can go into a list of figures in or following a table of contents.


[1] Dorf, Pat, File ... Don't Pile! A Personal Filing System, Minneapolis, MN: Willowtree Press, 1983; ISBN 0-9603648-1-1.

[2] Klinger, Allen, "Pi Approximations," Informal Communication, 2002.

[3] Stark, Harold M., An Introduction to Number Theory, Chicago IL: Markham Publ. Co., 1970; Cambridge MA: The MIT Press, 1978.

[4] Caldwell, Chris K. <>, A Summary About Primes, Universal Resource Locator accessed 1 23 02.

[5] Kanigel, Robert, The Man Who Knew Infinity - A Life of the Genius Ramanujan, NY: Simon and Schuster, first published Charles Scribner's Sons, 1991.

3-27-02 Version ©2002 Allen Klinger