Re: FW: Everybody's a Reviewer

Subject: Re: FW: Everybody's a Reviewer
From: Brent Jones <bjones -at- IGS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1996 10:27:00 PDT

Why *shouldn't it happen? I'm not sure why so many folks are proposing
methods for avoiding or sabotaging this review. I've seen other threads from
folks bemoaning the fact that they can never get input from developers and
SMEs on their docs. Well, which is it? It seems to me that:

1) If it's a good, solid document the input will probably be minimal.
Remember that the reviewers are probably busy too, and don't want to waste
either their time or yours with unimportant edits.

2) The QA and R&D folks are perfect reviewers, and are in a position to
offer really solid input. If your boss was suggesting that Marketing or HR
review it, that would be different.

3) All of this passive/aggressive stuff along the lines of "pretend to do it
but make it such a hassle that it will never happen again" is the true waste
of time. And will probably backfire, making everyone wonder why the
technical writer can't orchestrate a simple review more effectively.

Yes, I said a simple review. I've worked at places where 30+ people had to
sign off on every draft. It's often part of the gig, and even though it
sometimes revolves more around a CYA mindset than an interest in quality
docs, occasionally you have to live with it. So either do what you can to
make it a useful, positive experience that improves the document, or
convince your boss that it's not a good thing to do. To be honest, I can't
imagine many good arguments for the latter, other than that delivery date
slip will occur to allow the review and the incorporation of edits.

I think the real problem here is that your boss sprung it on you at the last
minute. He should understand that it will impact the dates. Hopefully not
because you make it a labyrinthine process designed to frustrate everyone
involved and ensure that it won't happen again, as some have suggested you
do, but because a new task inserted into an established timeline obviously
increases the timeline. And he should understand that you'd like to know
about major process changes earlier in the cycle next time.

bjones -at- igs -dot- com

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