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Can any of you provide me with information you use to inform reviewers
on the type of feedback you need from review?
For my latest project, I had to rely on SMEs from various areas of the
company, with various levels of technical and practical knowledge of the
system I was documenting, several of whom I had not worked with before
in this setting. This was my approach:
1. I met with the team leader before sending anything for review. She
has reviewed documents for me before, and is familiar with the type of
feedback I need. We discussed how to assign portions of the manual for
review, and how to set deadlines. We agreed that she was probably in the
best position to decide which SME(s) should review each part of the
manual, and what a reasonable deadline would be in each case.
2. As I wrote each chapter, I wrote questions into the body of the text,
and applied a special character style to it to identify it as a
question. This placed the question in context.
3. I prepared a standalone list of questions to accompany each chapter.
I left considerable white space after each question. The list duplicated
the questions inline with the chapter. This gave the reviewers room to
answer the questions.
4. I included a list of the chapter names behind the cover for each
chapter. This allowed reviewers to consider where a specific topic
should be covered in detail, and where it should be mentioned in
passing, cross-referenced, etc.
5. I included a cover page on each portion of the manual. Aside from
blanks for noting the number and name of the chapter, who would review,
etc., here is the entire text of the cover sheet.
"Reviewing a chapter consists of reviewing and answering the associated
questions, if you can, and reviewing the chapter itself for accuracy and
completeness. Keep in mind the subject of the chapter you are reviewing,
and that an element or process may be described briefly in one chapter,
and dealt with more fully in another chapter. If you notice misspellings
and grammatical errors, point them out; I haven't spell checked all the
chapters yet. However, you don't have to edit for style; that's my
problem. Please pass teh chapter along to the next reviewer when you're
done with it. Please make all notes in red."
This has worked remarkably well, especially considering the size of the
project, the number of reviewers involved, and the varying levels of
experience working with a project of this type.