Ken Larsen's web site - How to use Microsoft Word to organize a project
Microsoft Word is one of my favorite tools. I use its table facility repeatedly on a wide variety of tasks.
Let's take the complicated example of schools. There are lots of issues with schools. Where do you begin and how do you proceed? Well, it can actually be very simple using a Word table.
At the beginning of your school issues project, you likely have lots of thoughts on problems, goals, possible solutions, and anecdotes. Don't be overwhelmed by their number. Just start documenting them. I recommend having a pad of paper and a pen near your bed, and carry around some index cards. You never know when thoughts germane to your project will pop up in your mind.
Enter them into your Word table:
Begin by creating a table with 2 columns and about 20 rows.
In column 2 your briefly specify your thought/idea.
In column 1 you specify whether something is a problem (P), a goal (G), a possible solution (S), or an anecdote (A). You could also add questions (specified by a "Q").
When you're done, you can sort the table by column 1.
You can then add a column to assign a weight (1 to 10) to each item.
You can then sort the table first by the category and then the weight.
Keep reviewing and updating your table. Invite others to contribute. Over time, your random collection of ideas will become very organized.
After your table has reached a level of maturity, you should then split your document into separate sections. I suggest:
Section 1.0 should be your project statement.
Section 2.0 should be your list of problems ranked in order of their severity.
Section 3.0 should be your goals with weights (1-10) assigned. If any of your goals are MUSTs, they should be listed as such.
Section 4.0 should be your possible solutions.
Section 5.0 Could be a Kepner-Tregoe analysis of your solutions versus your goals. [details]
An appendix could list your anecdotes.