Bottom Line Up Front
BLUF: This essay discusses an email format that can greatly reduce the amount of time you spend reading emails.
Do you receive a lot of emails at work? Are many of them relatively long with the core message buried deep in a paragraph? Many of you are probably nodding your heads saying “all the time”. Fear not, the military has come to your aid. Military organizations use an effective email format called “Bottom Line Up Front” (BLUF) to remedy this problem.
The beauty of BLUF is many times you don’t need to read the entire history of what is being discussed. BLUF answers the “what do you need me to do?” or “Why am I reading this?” questions.
It looks like this:
Hello Jim, I’m getting back to you on the project we discussed.
BLUF: To move forward with the funding request you will need to e-sign the attached document and email to Bob in accounting.
Narrative: Given the rules governing…blah blah blah. (This is all the background information and other references the receiver may or may not want to read before taking action)
BLUF: Project X is currently on time and remains in budget
BLUF: I’ve resolved the issue of the missing paper clips
BLUF: You need to take a sick day Friday as the only tee time I could get is 9:08
You get the point.
Often I find executives and senior leaders initially resistant to Lean Six Sigma, mostly because they feel it’s another program or will bring them additional work. However, when re-work loops are eliminated and they receive high quality, to-the-point reports they quickly become enthusiastic supporters.
BLUF: BLUF works…give it a try.