When I was 23, I worked on a nuclear power plant construction site as an assistant to the office engineer. Once a week I donned a hardhat and went along with the guy who took progress photos. I wrote pithy captions using big numbers, like how many tons of rebar were laid that week.
These site visits put the project in perspective for me. From inside the construction trailer, I hadn't a clue about the scope of work on the monolithic reactor being erected. All I knew was the office engineer was mighty quick to correct errors. It was a zero-tolerance zone for imprecise work.
That job taught me that the devil's in the details. Engineers and the like aren't always the most conversant, and their reports can be inscrutable. As the writer on the job, I had to press for details — not just dimensions, quantities and materials but also milestones and project delivery goals.
Today I ask for the Google Earth view. How will the project change the lives of the people who will use it?
Even if it slows your writing down to the speed of a dial-up connection, dig for the details that are meaningful.