RE: A bit of clearing up on final reviews

Subject: RE: A bit of clearing up on final reviews
From: "Fisher, Melissa" <Melissa -dot- Fisher -at- delta-air -dot- com>
To: 'Sierra Godfrey' <kittenbreath -at- hotbot -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 14:51:20 -0400

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Sierra Godfrey [mailto:kittenbreath -at- hotbot -dot- com]
> So the next time I send a manual for review, I'll be sticking
> to sign-offs and freeze dates. The formula I've developed,
> based on the previous formula, is this: two weeks (adjusted
> per size of project) for final reviews. Freeze date on last
> day of review. One week (adjusted per size of project) to
> incorporate changes and finalize document for printing.
> But I keep sticking on what to do when the two engineers here
> say, like they did last time, that they want to see the
> pre-print version themselves to ensure it's okay?

Is the freeze date you mentioned for your document or for the product? If it
is for your document, then I would guess the engineers *are* seeing the
pre-print version, correct?

I'm the
> only writer here so having someone else check the final final
> version is helpful--but if it's these two, then they feel
> free to start making all sorts of little changes again, as if
> it were in review. This is what happened last time, and I
> can't accept that again.

Perhaps it would help to define what is included in your freeze date. Sort
of, after this date all I can fix is grammar and spelling. Any gross
inaccuracies should be weeded out prior to this. If this is not possible,
then either 1) you need to give the first review cycle more time or 2) they

are not reviewing carefully enough.

If you are making substantial changes to the document - rewriting entire
passages or adding/removing chunks of stuff - then yes I would try to make
sure an SME gets a last look to make sure I didn't goof somewhere. But this
kind of work needs to happen before the freeze date.

> Any suggestions on how to handle them seeing print-ready
> copy? If the answer is to not let them see it, who should?
> Should everyone just trust me? Is it right to trust one
> person with the absolute final version? Is there a way around
> all this, by passing my obviosuly not feeling confident about
> being the only person? (I know myself--I don't catch every probelm).

If you are the only writer it is very natural to worry that you will
overlook some huge flaw in logic or some humiliating typo. However, you need
to overcome this worry and get on with your job, or deadlines will get
missed and you will give yourself an ulcer. Regarding the accuracy of the
document: that is the whole point of the review process, and it is why you
are getting signatures from the SMEs on sign-off sheets. (You are getting
signatures, right? In your environment I certainly recommend it.) You have
to trust that your and your SMEs best diligence in the writing and review
process will be enough to stop gross inaccuracies from appearing.

Regarding typos: It is always a good idea to have someone copy-edit your
work. Note that unless your SME is a copy editor, he is probably not the
best pick for this job. It should be someone without a vested interest in
the work - which your SMEs apparently do have. Then, just accept the fact
that there will be typos in your document that no one will spot until you
pull the first gleaming, shrink-wrapped copy off the shelf. Hopefully it
won't be on the first page. Mark it on your desk copy for the next revision
and move on.

So, after you have researched, outlined, written, and rewritten a document,
and the document has been reviewed, re-reviewed, and signed off on, should
everyone just trust you? Yes - that is what they hired you for.

If you discover that is not what they hired you for, then please consider
carefully your desire to do whatever they did hire you for.

Believe in yourself.
Good luck
Melissa Fisher
melissa -dot- fisher -at- delta-air -dot- com
(404) 773-8674

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