Chipping Away Demonstration

ReadySET Pro: Chipping Away      Competition: Blue Text
What toppings would you like on your pizza?
Everything. I want a "Supreme" pizza.
Just pepperoni
Hawaiian style: ham and pineapple
All the vegetables, but no meat
Everything except anchovies
Now, you try extending the template
I would like pepperoni, sausage, chicken, olives, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, anchovies, MEAT-TOPPING, VEGETABLE-TOPPING, ALTERNATIVE-SAUCE, ALTERNATIVE-CHEESE.
What would you like to drink?
Just water
A large soft drink
A beer, I do not have to drive home
A glass of ICED | HOT tea with lemon on the side, sugar, sugar substitute
Now, you try extending the template
Pizza Toppings
Specify the toppings that you would like on your pizza. In general, pizza toppings consist of a choice of sauce, cheese, meats, and vegetables. The sauce and cheese choices have well-known defaults, and need not be specified unless alternatives are desired. You may specify well-known combinations by their common name. Alternatively, you may specify a set of toppings and then explicitly subtract undesired toppings from the set. The crust type is not specified here. Now, you try extending the template.
Specify your desired beverage. Your choice should take into account the need to comply with state and local regulations regarding driving motor vehicles while under the influence of alcoholic beverages. Indicate ice preference and cup size. If you would like anything on the side, specify that. Now, you try extending the template.

Finally, take a different perspective on these two approaches: consider the long-term role of these templates in your organization.

Imagine that you are not the one filling in the templates with specific choices. Instead, imagine that you are the manager or mentor of a less experienced person whose work you will have to later use, and possibly maintain. Or, that the template will be filled in by your boss, a business partner, or a customer.

Creating text to be chipped away is much easier because it is concrete rather than abstract. If you have existing documents, you can simply paste concrete text from those documents into the templates. Then, generalize a few key words and phrases, as needed to make the sample text more reusable. This approach retains the implicit cues in the text, such as length, phrasing, word choice, and tone. These cues help give diverse documents a consistent style and help define part of the corporate development culture.

The blue text approach requires you to first generalize from any specific examples that you may have to produce an abstract description of the required text. Then, the person using the template must work back from the abstract description to create new concrete text. It is difficult and time consuming to write blue text that prompts for everything that should be written and guards against common mistakes. Even skillfully written blue text cannot practically be extended to address style issues. Also, keep in mind that your carefully written blue text will eventually be deleted, and the response will not have your blue text to provide context.