RE: Best Practice for reviewing documents

Subject: RE: Best Practice for reviewing documents
From: Beth Agnew <Beth -dot- Agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2005 08:48:12 -0800

Five business days for a review is usually adequate. Any longer, and they
just don't get to it; shorter and they feel under pressure so you may not
get your best review. I would have all in-house people review it at the same
time. Each person is going to be looking for different things -- you for
grammar/editorial, someone else for technical accuracy, etc. Even the peers
will each have different things they pick out of the document. You may even
want a formal review process:

I'd keep the number of reviews to a minimum. You don't really want to be
seeing the document over and over again. Gather up all the comments, rather
than have different individuals making their changes in the document. You
want to know what all the change recommendations are, so that the consensus
can be incorporated into the document.

Perhaps leave the final review to just you and the operations team lead.
Once he signs off on your edited copy, it's done.

I always stress document ownership. Who is the person who is most invested
in that document being correct? That individual checks the client feedback,
and if it warrants a further edit, then it can be done.

Having a good change control policy will help you here. What consistutes a
change, in your view? At any point in the review process, someone might want
to add or remove something. Under what circumstances do you allow that, and
when do you "freeze" the document from further changes? It may help to think
of document edits in the same terms as software bugs. Some are important,
others not as critical.

Beth Agnew
Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
Toronto, ON 416-491-5050 x3133


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Best Practice for reviewing documents: From: Lucero, Peggy

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