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Melissa...it can be sugar-coated all we want, but in a situation that
you describe: "Sometimes NO ONE on the team responds OR none of the
reviewers respond within our given timeframe....then all of a sudden the
project is a fire." is a pure and simple case of unprofessional behavior
and nothing you do from the perspective of review process is going to
make a d**n bit of difference because they're not doing their job and
they will continue to not do their job.
If someone is a responsible stakeholder, they do what they are supposed
to do and if they don't like how you are presenting it to them or what
the process is, they are to tell you and you will present it to them