Re: Review meetings vs. distributing copies

Subject: Re: Review meetings vs. distributing copies
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2008 22:15:20 -0700

Downing, David wrote:

> The question is -- why does this happen? One theory I've heard is that
> calling a meeting forces people to pay attention and respond, whereas
> just distributing copies of the document lets them set it aside and
> forget it.

The message I would be getting is that the SMEs you're describing don't
feel any obligation to tech writers. I assume they would respond to a
request from someone who they acknowledge as a 'driver' of their work,
like if a project stakeholder asked them to review it.

I'm not sure why a meeting would be any different, maybe they expect to
have stakeholders there to give their feedback as well.

FWIW, I've had 10-20 reviewers grab review copies off the LAN the day I
ask them to, take those copies home that night, read/mark them up, come
in the next day and type their comments into an email, stick their
markups in interoffice envelopes, and send them all to me before
lunchtime. When our process finally requires a meeting to smooth out any
remaining wrinkles, we do it in a conference call.

I can't say that they do this in response to my review cycle leadership
or inspirational drive to get things done. Actually, the reason they
participate so readily is that my reviewers represent two groups who
vigorously compete with each other, as a matter of survival. Group 1 is
Development--they create software that I document. Group 2 is Support.
Between them, there are two drastically different sets of information
requirements. They can't agree on what needs needs to be in the
documentation! They never miss a chance to rejoin the fray (review) and
continue their criticism of the way the other wants to do things.

Telecom joy, yep.

Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com

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Review meetings vs. distributing copies: From: Downing, David
RE: Review meetings vs. distributing copies: From: Marsha.Kamish
RE: Review meetings vs. distributing copies: From: Downing, David

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