Executive Summary Assignment:

Executive Summary Assignment:

Executive Summary Assignment:

This is probably the simplest assignment that we’ve covered this semester. For this week’s assignment, all you need to do is write an executive summary of your process improvement plan. Read over the short lecture and compose the summary. As the lecture indicates the length of this summary should be equivalent to about 10% of the length of the original paper. Once you’ve completed the summary upload it into the dropbox.

You will receive full credit for this assignment provided that you a) turn it in, and b) thoroughly proofread it. I will not be deducting points for stylistic flaws. However, if it turns out that your executive summary does not do a faithful job of summarizing your process improvement plan or contains grammatical errors then I reserve the right to deduct points.

Executive Summary Overview

There isn’t anything tricky about executive summaries. They are, as their name suggests, summaries of longer papers, and are intended to be either skimmed or read quickly. I’ve compiled the following list of do’s and don’ts for executive summaries, which I hope you will keep near and dear to your heart as you write your own summary.


  • Avoid jargon and technical mumbo jumbo. Remember the audience analysis section we covered earlier in class? Much of that material applies here. Your audience for this paper will be the non-technical reader, which means you don’t want to saturate your paper with a bunch of obscure acronyms, or other bits of shop talk that are hard to decipher.
  • Keep it short. The rule of thumb for the length of executive summaries is that they should be no more than 10% of the length of the original text.
  • Use headings and bullets whenever appropriate. It’s OK to break up the text in executive summaries. A small graph may be OK, but you don’t want to go overboard on visuals.
  • Remember to mention your conclusions and suggestions in the summary. Don’t keep the reader guessing. Let them know exactly what it is you’re recommending; if they want to learn more they can go on to read the entire paper.


  • Turn this into a hand wringing intellectual exercise. It’s very easy to over think a short paper like this, and that usually results in a poorly written, fragmented paper. For example, consider the recommendations made at the following URL:http://www.garage.com/resources/writingexecsum.shtml (Links to an external site.) . Believe me when I say that anyone who tries to juggle this many concepts when they’re writing a paper is going to have an extraordinarily difficult time writing anything that’s going to make sense. Almost all good writers work on feel and intuition; they don’t keep a list of twenty ‘required elements’ next to their keyboard.
  • Forget to summarize! Many executive summaries end up being extensions of the original document; i.e., they aren’t summaries, but rather addenda. It’s as if the writer realized they had more to say on the subject after they’d finished writing, but since he/she wasn’t sure where to put that information they grafted it on to the summary. Another common mistake (more often made by students) is to start writing the summary, realize that they’ve hit the maximum length after only having summarized ½ of their paper, and then to simply ‘stop’ writing. Don’t forget to summarize the entire paper! This may require you to write multiple drafts.

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