Tighten This! Challenge Sentence 27 [writing/editing game]

this-weeks-challenge-question-marcia-riefer-johnstonWelcome to the concise-writing game, Tighten This! Here’s Challenge Sentence 27, courtesy of Julian Cable.

Collaboration and operational principles within the APM are addressing the challenges of xyzCorp IT, delivering high quality solutions and added value to the business by continuous standardization and cost reduction where possible.

Your revision: _______________________
[Scroll to the bottom and put your revision in a comment by Friday, Dec, 11.]


Last Week’s Challenge Sentence

In case you’re playing this game for the first time (welcome!), or in case you’ve had other things on your mind since you read last week’s Challenge Sentence, here it is again, courtesy of Greta Boller. Take a deep breath…

The adoption of a well-designed and well-managed continuous monitoring solution will transform the company’s static compliance-based risk-determination process into a dynamic process that will also enable essential, time-sensitive security information to reach organizational officials within a timely manner, allowing the appropriate cost-effective risk-based decisions regarding their operation.

Read on to hear thoughts from the game’s three judges: Larry Kunz (a seasoned technical writer and blogger who has participated in this game from the beginning), Ray (my husband), and me.

Ray’s Pick

(Ray Johnston speaking) Had I not recently completed a 10-year bit at a prominent manufacturer of continuous-monitoring solutions, I might suspect Greta of pulling our leg with this one. This could be a press release, but it smacks more of the blather we heard at each of the quarterly update meetings (attendance strongly recommended). You know the marketing veep has given her all when a dozen buzzword players yell BINGO! before she has finished delivering her opening paragraph.

I’ve read this sentence at least a dozen times over the past week, and I still don’t know what it says. Continuous monitoring solution… wait… what??? Monitoring what? Monitoring the compliance-based risk-management process? Monitoring patients? Is there a clue in here, anywhere, as to what this sentence is about?


I love Rhonda’s entry. It retains, succinctly, 100% of the mystery of the original. Mike takes it in the same direction, with even fewer words. Leigh boils it down so far that there’s a mere wisp of something in the bottom of the pan. Ditto Ali. Ditto Julian. Jennifer clarifies without losing essence. This is an all-star week! Marc, Dude, Dr. Strangelove, beautiful!!! LOL Damian, I’m not sure you captured everything—maybe you did—but, hands down, you win the fat-cutter prize. Mary Claire, Louise, and Irene: yes, yes, and yes!


Larry’s Pick

(Larry Kunz speaking) That’s it. Stop the music. With a brilliant shout-out to Dr. Strangelove, Marc Evans has hands-down won the prize for this week’s coolest entry. Congratulations, Marc.

But which entry did the best job of tightening the original sentence? Let’s see.

Last week’s winning player, Richard Hamilton, activated his doomsday device and blew the challenge sentence to bits—reducing it from 51 words to 6.

This week’s result can’t be so dramatic (Damian’s 3-word effort notwithstanding) because this week’s Challenge Sentence contains meaningful content. Specifically, I’m looking for an entry that retains three key ideas:

  • We’re changing our risk assessment process.
  • Managers will get more accurate information, faster.
  • They’ll be able to make better decisions.

A lot of entries are succinct and clear, but they don’t encompass all three key ideas. They tighten too much.

Of the entries that don’t tighten too much, the best comes from—what do you know?—Marc Evans again:

By switching to state-of-the-art monitoring tools, the company can improve its risk selection, and management can make better-informed decisions. [See spreadsheet.]

Subtitle: How I learned to stop worrying and love a well-managed continuous monitoring solution.

Honorable mentions to Jennifer Dawson and Rhonda.

Concise sentence2

(How did Marcia arrive at the translation formula in the spreadsheet above? See “Write Tight(er): Get to the Point and Save Millions.”)

Marcia’s Pick

(Marcia Johnston speaking) Zzzz… Hmhhmfg… Sorry, let me grab some coffee. Okay. Once more. I can get through this one sentence. I can. The adoption of a well-designed and well-managed… 



Boy, do I admire all of you who kept your eyes open long enough to take a crack at this one. Here’s my crack at it: If your company has a static process for determining compliance-based risks, consider a continuous-monitoring solution. This type of solution delivers… SNORRRrrgphh…

Can’t do it. I tip my hat to the following players.

  • Damian Hanstine came up with a three-word version: New security needed. That took some creativity and serious hacking. Alas, I think we need to keep the concept of continuous monitoring and its benefits.
  • Marc Evans made me smile with his Dr. Strangelove reference.
  • Irene Otter gets the nod, although I can say for sure that she’s saying the same essential thing as the original. Did I mention that I couldn’t… Zzzzzz… Irene brings the word count down by 79%:

Adoption of continuous monitoring will enable faster operational decision making. 

Concise sentence

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Again, Challenge Sentence 27

Collaboration and operational principles within the APM are addressing the challenges of xyzCorp IT, delivering high quality solutions and added value to the business by continuous standardization and cost reduction where possible.

Your revision: _______________________
[Scroll to the bottom and put your revision in a comment by Friday, Dec. 11.]


Index of Challenge Sentences

Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo

16 thoughts on “Tighten This! Challenge Sentence 27 [writing/editing game]

  1. What a load of….!!!!!

    Here’s my feeble attempt at trying to figure out what this corporate gobbledygook means: “The APM collaborates with xyzCorp IT to solve its problems, reduce its costs, standardize its processes, and improve its business value.”

  2. APM solves xyzCorp technology challenges through standardization that adds value and reduces costs.

  3. The APM is fixing XyzCorp IT by standardizing, cutting costs, and solving the right problems the right way.

  4. My first go at this game:

    xyzCorp IT uses Application-Performance Management (APM) to standardize and reduce costs.

  5. I didn’t know what “APM” was, so I had to call Cheech & Chong to tighten this one. Tommy said, “Wow, dude, APM is some good stuff. It’s made xyzCorp IT like a lot leaner, smarter, and richer.” Except Tommy didn’t call it “stuff.”

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