Review techniques (was Re: lead time...)

Subject: Review techniques (was Re: lead time...)
From: "Jane Bergen" <jane -dot- bergen -at- usa -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 8 Dec 2000 14:05:24 -0600


One thing you might try is to attach a cover letter to the document you
send to review. In this cover letter, specify exactly what you want/don't
want comments on. I usually tell the reviewers that this is the "first
draft" or "near final draft" etc. If it's the first draft, I tell them to
ignore minor typos, etc. and to instead concentrate on missing
information, missing procedures, etc. If it's a final draft, I might
mention that it's too late to make any MAJOR changes like format, fonts,
color choices, and that I'd prefer they'd just review for completeness,
accuracy, and clarity. You might even give them a checklist.

Very few people can be intuitive enough to really cover everything, so I
try to be selective in who reviews what. For example, on my earliest
drafts, I ask the engineers to review the document (mostly for accuracy
and completeness). On my final draft, I only ask the better reviewers (who
are now quite obvious since your documents have been reviewed by several
people) to review for consistency, accuracy, and the
last-minute-sanity-check. It works pretty well. I have almost always
worked as the lone tech writer. On the one occasion when I did have
another writer, I really let her know I appreciated it when she did the
tech-writer sanity check. Unfortunately, we were moving at the speed of
light and it was seldom that she had time.


> "Cayenne Woods" wrote...
> Also, after asking for feedback since early November and not getting
even a
> reply, a new project manager has kicked everyone into gear to review the
> docs.
> However, they received absolutely no guidelines on what I'd like to
hear, and
> now have sent _lots_ of feedback. I should get over the opinions on
> fonts, capitalisation, etc, but it's irritating. The big problem is
> way too much detail for this stage - and even though I'd ignore half the
> "suggestions" and many are simply wrong, it's a big chunk of both their
> my time that is not best-used at this point.

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