The Sequential Thematic Organization of Publications (STOP) method is a technique used to organize and write reports, proposals, and technical content. It brings greater outlining control to the document and improves its editorial standards. The concept allows writers to develop readable technical documents that users can easily digest. Below we will take a deeper look at the STOP concept, and how you can apply it to Trello. Remember that you can unlock Trello’s full potential by combining it with Power-Ups. For instance, you can integrate your account with Bridge24 for Trello to bring advanced reporting and exporting features to your board.

A Brief History of STOP

The STOP methodology was pioneered by the Hughes Aircraft Company (now Raytheon) in the 1960s. The technique was developed after the company faced challenges in creating proposals. The company needed to draft a huge number of proposals, yet they didn’t have enough authors to handle all these proposals. This challenge led the company to bring writers together to tackle the proposals. 

However, the writing techniques of that time didn’t allow effective collaboration. In order to accomplish the task at hand, writers needed to find a solution that will help them complete the proposal on time, boost teamwork, ensure the proposal is coherent and of great quality, and avoid being overwhelmed by work. 

The Solution

The solution that was devised called for a topic-based approach to writing. Here, a proposal document was developed as a set of uniform modules. The storyboard technique was used as the platform for planning and managing the proposal projects. Instead of creating documents that had categories, STOP documents were structured using argumentative or persuasive outlining as a basis.

STOP creators believed that coherence is accomplished when a reader is able to recognize topics. They understood that the best approach to allow topic recognition was through the device of modules. Content created using the STOP concept comprises consistently sized topics, ordered into a series of themes.

How STOP Changed Publication

The STOP methodology didn’t just transform how documents are presented, it also changed how they are produced. Before this concept, writers used a different process to deliver content; research, outline, draft, and then revise. The problem with this approach was that it was inflexible. The STOP creators determined that no definite order was needed to produce documents. This meant that some topics can be completed, while others are yet to be crafted, and others are being reviewed. 

In STOP, the document was designed and managed through a ‘Story Board’ wall. This wall was a public, visual plan of the document that provided an overview of the project. This technique of managing the document life-cycle allowed changes to the publication to be done even before the writing commenced. With the storyboard wall, individual writers could visualize where their topics slotted in the overall document. The topic-based format enabled each author to write independently of other writers, yet each one of them could easily see the big picture of the publication.

Over five decades later, the original storyboarding pillars have been redesigned and rebranded, but the concept remains the same. Modern proposal planning tools still maintain the four STOP pillars – Theme statement, proposal outline, graphic concepts, and review sessions. Let’s now look at how you can apply the STOP method to Trello.

Applying the STOP Method to Trello

Trello is a web-based project management application that is easy to use, highly visual, and flexible. It divides a project into smaller, manageable tasks using boards, lists, and cards. The cards are versatile, and they can be assigned to team members, given due dates, commented on, attached documents, linked to, and moved from one list to another.

For instance, you can set up a board with three lists: ‘To Do,’ ‘Doing,’ and ‘Done.’ A card, which represents a task, can be created and placed in the To-do list, then moved to the doing list to show that you are working on that card. It’s then moved to the ‘Done’ list when you have finished the work. Here’s how you can use the STOP concept in Trello when you want to work on a technical document.

Setting Up Your Trello Board

First, create a board titled ‘Publication’, add the relevant team members, and then create the following lists:

  • Idea – This list contains cards that have ideas. The cards are added as new ideas come up. This column will help your team document all your brilliant thoughts so you can later develop them. Here, you can collaborate on the best ideas to work on.
  • Resources – This column houses all resources that the team members feel will be helpful when you start creating your document. It may contain links to helpful journals, inspirational content you come across, and information from any source that can back your work. 
  • Writing – This list holds the sections of the document that are being worked on by team members. If you are working on an introduction, place it here. When you are done with it, slide it to the next column, and start working on the next phase of the document.
  • Submission and Review – The list houses the cards that have been completed and are waiting to be reviewed by the editor or peers. 
  • Published – Holds the cards that have been approved and published.

To accomplish work within the desired time frame, take advantage of Trello’s due date feature, and add deadlines to the appropriate cards. Deadlines will give your team a sense of urgency and ensure you are always on schedule. You can always change the due date when a card is moved to a different column. You can also add colored labels to specific cards that you want to track on your board. Trello’s visual system gives users an overview of the project in one glance, and its flexibility allows teams to structure their workflow in any way, just as the STOP methodology strives to achieve. 

Wrapping Up

Thanks to Trello’s infinite flexibility, a team of technical authors can easily use it to apply the STOP concept. They can use it to split work into chunks, collaborate on the document, see where their work fits in the overall document, and visualize the bigger picture of the project. To get the most out of this concept, you can give your Trello board more functionality with a Power-Up like Bridge24 for Trello. Use it to easily export the Information you want and get a global overview of all your projects through powerful reports and charts. Bridge24 offers new perspectives into your Trello tasks. 

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