Re: Documentation review

Subject: Re: Documentation review
From: Beth Agnew <beth -dot- agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 27 Dec 2005 22:43:44 -0500

I think you are risking reviewer burnout with any schedule you come up with for that many documents in a short time frame. Even without overlap, the reviewers are going to get sick of reviewing publications. I suggest a little creative thinking to determine what absolutely has to be reviewed, what the review needs to consist of -- just typos or a full-scale content/technical review? -- and can any documents be bundled (yes, overlapped) or farmed out to other people.

The big concern is the length of meetings. I would not go beyond 2 hours. That is about the limit of most people in a meeting. After that, you get the law of diminishing returns in operation. The quality goes down, people are tired, and you might as well be doing something else with your time. Perhaps 2 or 3 successive meetings a day apart would work better. Break that longer document up into sections. Does every reviewer have to see every section of that long publication? Are there some reviews that are just "mark up the copy" and others that need to be discussed?

I think most reviewers could take say, 3 shorter documents home on the weekend and review them. Or have 2-3 days for reviewing a bundle of 3 without being overloaded. It may actually be easier, because they get into the frame of mind of reviewing. Try grouping similiar or related documents together. I would also give reviewers a covering list of what specifically you want them to look for, so that they focus their attention during the review.

Good luck with that!

Lucero, Peggy wrote:

Hoping someone can shed light on how to seemingly work a miracle!!
I have 10 technical documents, varying in length from 60 to 600 pages.
They need to be reviewed, starting 2/1/06 and ending in mid April.
They need to go to:
1. Peer review
2. Client review

It seems a consensus that 5 days are ok to allow as the time period for
each document to be reviewed in, though for the one really long one
(almost 600 pages), I've recommended a group review meeting, that I'm
suggesting will take 4-5 hrs, but, I actually have no idea how long it
is likely to take.
I've been advised by boss that it is expected that no two documents
overlap. In other words, I'm only to give documents one at a time to a
reviewer because if they get more than one at a time it is believed
they'll get 'overloaded' and never get anything reviewed and returned to
I've worked and worked on writing the documentation review schedule.
Given the number of documents to be reviewed and the short time frame to
get them through the reviewing process, I can't concoct a schedule that
does not contain any overlap.
Any suggestions/recommendations are most appreciated.

Peggy Lucero
McLean, VA

Beth Agnew
Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
Toronto, ON 416.491.5050 x3133


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Documentation review: From: Lucero, Peggy

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