RE: Review meetings vs. distributing copies

Subject: RE: Review meetings vs. distributing copies
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "Fred Ridder" <docudoc -at- hotmail -dot- com>, "Downing, David" <daviddowning -at- users -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2008 11:43:36 -0400

Fred Ridder observed:
> David Downing asked why SMEs are willing to participate in review
> meetings when they seldom (or never) provide feedback when
> sent a review copy of a document.
> In my experience, SMEs seldom do much preparation (i.e. reviewing or
> even simply reading the document) in advance of a review meeting.
> Most wind up reading page by page during the meeting and commenting
> in real time. In this mode of operation, their total investment of
> is the length of the meeting itself, as opposed to the multiple hours
> would take them to properly read, review, and comment on a copy
> that was sent to them for review. No question that this is a more
> attractive proposition for them even if it leads to a less thorough
> review of the document for you.
> And on the rare occasions when the SMEs did do a read-through before
> the review meeting, it's still hard to cover more than the first 30
> in a 60-90 minute meeting, which means multiple meetings with ever-
> decreasing participation and commitment if you're dealing with longer
> documents.

I find that, on the rare occasions that people review almost any kind of
documentation (that includes specs and project docs by other people, not
just my docs), the result depends upon how specific is the guidance, and
how narrow the focus.

In a Statement of Work (or Engineering spec that answers a Marketing
Requirements doc), there are specific sections that apply to specific
groups, therefore each SME or participant can focus on just a couple of
pages or sections and ignore the rest. They know exactly where to go and
what to look for. So they do.

In a big customer-oriented document, the technical aspects are scattered
throughout, so a technical SME is supposed to look at the whole
document. Even with explicit guidance, they tend to put it off. Or, they
jump into it and ....... and...... review the first twenty percent in
ferocious detail, the next twenty percent in slightly more, um,
superficial fashion, and the remainder, pretty much not at all.

Worse, many like to waste their review time with comments on wording,
grammar (they're almost invariably wrong and I have to be especially
tactful when I explain why...), punctuation (yeah, sometimes they get me
when I've left the comma-generator running too long), spelling/typos.
The actual technical review gets short shrift. Or, they come back to me
after the review period, when it's too late to do anything but Release
Note their technical observations.

It's a running battle. Most are pretty good about cooperating, but
they're also under tight schedules of their own, or they're on vacation
between tightly scheduled projects, and that vacation time happens to
match my rush-to-release time. Oh well.

- Kevin
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Review meetings vs. distributing copies: From: Downing, David
RE: Review meetings vs. distributing copies: From: Fred Ridder

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