Reviewing Tool - Not Convinced to Use One?

Subject: Reviewing Tool - Not Convinced to Use One?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, mailinfodd-wrt -at- yahoo -dot- com
Date: Wed, 01 Aug 2007 17:32:55 -0400

Marie Palmieri wondered: <<Just participated in an eSeminar for a
documentation reviewing tool. The eSeminar was presented well and the
tool seems solid. However, I’m not convinced that using a
documentation reviewing tool has a big payoff. Perhaps it could
streamline workflow to some degree, but it also seems to introduce
other things that have to be managed, such as assigning and adjusted
the statuses of individual comments.>>

Well, let's put it this way: by implementing such a tool* (plus a few
other nifty tricks), we cut publication times for research reports
from an average of 6 to 9 months and sometimes longer to a consistent
timing of less than 3 months in almost every case at a previous
employer. That's at least a 50% time savings, depending on how you
slice the data, and last I heard, they're consistently beating that 3-
month estimate more than 6 years later.

* Developed as a home-grown using the task management features of
Outlook/Exchange Server. It was crude and buggy, but it basically
worked a treat. I attribute much of the success of this system to the
fact that we developed it in collaboration with all stakeholders and
tested the heck out of it before unleashing it on staff, thus we had
considerable buy-in.

I'd estimate (working without a net here -- though I could probably
dig up statistics with a fair bit of work) that at least half of that
savings comes from the tracking and task management system, and the
rest comes from a few streamlining things such as reducing the number
and frequency of the reviews and me working with the authors and
their managers to create an effective outline that everyone accepted
***before*** they began writing.

YMMV, of course. <g> This was an odd situation, with many extenuating
circumstances we had to work our way around. These changes were all
things I'd been advocating for years, but it wasn't until we
conducted a Kaizen exercise that we collected stats to support my

-- Geoff Hart
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
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Reviewing Tool - Not Convinced to Use One: From: M. Palmieri

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