Re: most effective method for SME review?

Subject: Re: most effective method for SME review?
From: Tom Johnson <tomjohnson1492 -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 2015 08:38:02 -0700

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on SME review. I think my main problem is
that I send out too much content for someone to review at once, and then I
expect them to make their way through the entire documentation (or large
parts of it). This gets to be overwhelming.

As I think about what has worked for me, it's the short reviews. When I
send out a couple of pages and ask specific people to review those pages
(but copy the entire team in case others want to chime in), it works well.
And definitely annotating in the margins works better than directly editing
the source.

Since my content is primarily in Markdown, I've experimented with using
Beegit (a collaborative Markdown platform online) in the past, but my flaw
was in putting *all* the docs into it, which took a long time and quickly
got out of sync. Instead, if I just copied over what I want reviewed (maybe
5 topics), it would reduce the pain of copy and paste while also allowing
reviewers to annotate in those margins.

Given our agile two-week sprint pace, the 5-pages-a-week-to-review approach
should fit the scrum rhythm.

(By "munge" I just meant that copying source formatting into one editor can
potentially screw up all the formatting when you copy it out. For example,
paste your raw text into Google docs and then copy it out -- a lot of
spacing gets messed up.)


Tom

---------------------
blog: idratherbewriting.com
twitter: tomjohnson
email: tomjohnson1492 -at- gmail -dot- com
cell: 408-540-8562

On Thu, Oct 22, 2015 at 7:59 AM, Keith Hood <bus -dot- write -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

> Most of the time, the only way I can get SMEs to review something at all
> is to personally snag them in the hall and ask for the review face to face.
> It's too easy for people who think they are already too busy to ignore any
> form of electronic communication. Once they've talked about it with me they
> take doing the review a little more personally, so that makes it more
> likely they'll actually do it. It's harder to tell me to my face that they
> will do it and then not, than it is to program Outlook to send everything
> from me directly to the trash bin.
>
> I have found a lot of people really like doing reviews by using the change
> tracking feature in Word - once they know how to deal with it. Almost every
> place I've ever worked, I find I'm the only person there who does, and I
> have to circulate a paper on how to turn on and read tracked changes. That
> sort of makes sense, because most other people use Word only at the most
> superficial level. Once they know how to start and save a document, they
> ignore most everything else. Again, a matter of being busy with other
> concerns. And what the heck, being the only person in the office who
> actually understands how to correctly format a document is how I get jobs.
>
> "Munges"?
>
> On Wed, Oct 21, 2015 at 7:12 PM, Tom Johnson <tomjohnson1492 -at- gmail -dot- com>
> wrote:
>
>> What has been your most effective method for reviewing docs with subject
>> matter experts? I feel like I've tried everything and haven't really hit
>> upon the best way of doing it.
>>
>> Some approaches I've tried:
>>
>> - comments forms on web pages
>> - direct edits of source files on Github
>> - in-person visits at my desk
>> - email
>> - JIRA tickets
>> - Word docs
>> - comments on PDFs
>> - Google docs
>> - Beegit
>> - focused meetings
>> - over-the-shoulder sessions
>>
>> My reviewers say they like to highlight passages and put their annotations
>> the margins, similar to Google Docs. The only problem with that approach
>> is
>> that (1) Google Docs is prohibited at my work for enterprise content
>> review, and (2) importing content into Google Docs munges the formatting
>> (there's no bulk import/export).
>>
>> Nevertheless, Google Docs has been the best reviewing tool for my content
>> (at least at a former company where we had Google Drive instead of MS
>> Office). Beegit approximates Google Docs and allows you to use Markdown as
>> the source, but there's no bulk import, so there's a lot of copying and
>> pasting involved.
>>
>>
>> Tom
>>
>> ---------------------
>> blog: idratherbewriting.com
>> twitter: tomjohnson
>> email: tomjohnson1492 -at- gmail -dot- com
>> cell: 408-540-8562
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>
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References:
most effective method for SME review?: From: Tom Johnson
Re: most effective method for SME review?: From: Keith Hood

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