Executive Summary

Writing a compelling executive summary

Every successful digital workplace plan starts with an Executive Summary. It is the brief, yet essential, overview of your digital workplace plan. It describes the problem you're trying to solve, key audiences, solution proposal and financial highlights.

What is an executive summary?

An executive summary outlines the key elements of your digital workplace plan. It ranges between three and five pages in length. Its purpose is to grab your reader’s attention and lets them know the importance of the project and why they should read the rest of your digital workplace plan. 

Not all digital workplace plans need an executive summary, but it's highly recommended as many executives will make business decisions (e.g. approvals, budget allocations, resources) based on the content in the executive summary.

Audiences

  • Executive sponsors
  • Key stakeholders

Key components

  • Who you are
  • An outline of the problem you are trying to solve
  • Your target audience
  • The business value and/or purpose 
  • Size and scale of the project
  • Critical details
  • Financial summary

How to get started

  • Think of an executive summary as being a lot like a pitch, but with constraints. A good summary sells the rest of the plan, but it can’t be just a hard sell. Highlight what will spark the reader’s interest, but make sure you summarize all the key points.
  • Write it last. Even though the executive summary is at the beginning of a finished digital workplace plan, write the executive summary last.
  • Keep it short.  Ideally the executive summary is short – usually just a page or two, five at the outside – and highlights the points you’ve made elsewhere in your plan, so if you save it for the end, it will be quick and easy.
  • Keep it simple. Most executive summaries are short texts, often with bullets, broken into subheadings. Illustrations are key such as a bar chart showing financial highlights.
  • Organize in order of importance. There is no set order of appearance of the different key items included. Quite the contrary, in fact – use the order to show emphasis. Lead with what you want to get the most attention.
  • When it’s finished, re-purpose it as a summary memo. It might be a short document, often attached to an email, or simply a summary in an email.



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