Re: methods of reviewing documentation

Subject: Re: methods of reviewing documentation
From: "Doc" <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 4 Mar 2004 21:36:18 -0800

> The solution is to switch to incremental reviews.

This is good advice. One way to implement it, when you've got lumpy goods
coming down the pipeline at the last minute, is to get back to your
composition and rhetoric roots. Outline your documents. Pull in
information ( in outline form) from any previous versions, if such exist.

The point is, the outline of a particular audience's manual doesn't change
much from product to product, but the content does. So work from an
outline, get it reviewed. Flesh it out some, get it reviewed when the flow
of content stalls (not only when it is complete).

Your reviewers will be befuddled, at least mine were the first time I did
this with them. But I discovered that manuals often don't come close to
what some users expect, and they don't say so because it is always so late
in the process when they first see them.

So be prepared to tell them that you're adding information as it comes in.
You're asking them to validate what you've got so far. You can build
yourself a little constituency of people who now understand how your process
works: you wait and wait and then you get a great clot of stuff at the last

Getting partial reviews is buy-in, even if it is only nickle-dime. You'll
run into busy people who refuse to review anything but the final draft, and
they are so right--they'll end up reviewing the whole thing many times over
if they don't hold out for a final. You can accommodate them by
minor-versioning the document and resetting the revision marks after every
review, to keep the focus on what still needs review.

Have fun

Ned Bedinger
Ed Wordsmith Technical Communications
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com
tel: 360-434-7197

methods of reviewing documentation: From: Melissa Clark
Re: methods of reviewing documentation: From: Mark Baker

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