Re: Peer Editing Among Corporate Tech Writing Teams

Subject: Re: Peer Editing Among Corporate Tech Writing Teams
From: Sarah Kiniry <sarah -dot- kiniry -at- cpanel -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:32:07 -0600

My department has a single manager and about 10 writers. Out of the 10 of us, five are senior writers and are the designated âpeer reviewâ pool. We all submit cases that are ready for review to a queue that all of the peer reviewers check regularly (we use Jira for case/task management and a series of internal and external Confluence servers for publication, which helps make this successful). Generally, cases get reviewed within a few hours, but if itâs over a day, someone might message the department chatroom and ask for an expedited review.

We work in scrum with each writer assigned to one team (or in one case, two small ones), plus everyoneâs expected to work a certain number of âmaintenanceâ cases (requests from Technical Support for clarifications, etc). We do the peer reviews for all of these as cases in Jira, with the scrum peer reviews being created as separate peer review tasks because of how the projects are set up in Jira.

The main problem Iâve seen with this system, other than occasional imbalances in whoâs actually doing the reviews, is that you have to be really on top of consistency. One or two inconsistent peer reviewers is enough to make everyone very frustrated, particularly folks who arenât reviewers themselves and may not know the style guide as well. We have a fairly extensive style guide in part to address consistency issues between reviewers, and a department culture where forwarding an inconsistency to the department chatroom, or bringing in a second reviewer, is a-ok, which helps keep reviews from feeling too personal. (Boy howdy can peer reviews get personal fast.)


Sarah Kiniry
Technical Writer II
cPanel, Inc.
sarah -dot- kiniry -at- cpanel -dot- net


> On Feb 27, 2017, at 3:49 PM, David Renn <daverenn08 -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
>
> I work in a Tech Writing Department of about 3 managers and 14 writers. Our
> team used to have a dedicated copyeditor for the whole team. We're now
> restructuring the department so that all authors are responsible for peer
> reviews in place of having a copyeditor.
>
> Have any of you ever had any experience where peer editing was implemented
> across a team of multiple tech writers---whether small or large teams?
>
> If so, would you be able to shed any light on the methodology your team
> implemented for the peer review process; that is, the team structure, how
> tasks were assigned/divvied up, what peer reviewers were required to review
> for, how team ensured the process was implemented appropriately, or
> anything else related?
>
> And also, do you have any thoughts as to:
>
> - the pros and cons of implementing peer editing in multiple-author tech
> departments;
> - what it might take to create a well-oiled peer editing machine where
> all authors know and understand their role/responsibilities and are
> dedicated to their assignments;
> - any success/failure stories in general.
>
> Thanks, and I look forward to hearing about your experiences!
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References:
Peer Editing Among Corporate Tech Writing Teams: From: David Renn

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