Re: dynamic review model

Subject: Re: dynamic review model
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 2016 11:26:33 -0500

The problem of "no architect responsible overall" has been around a long time. I have seen solutions appear when some really good dev person grabs hold of it, but all too often I have seen where the writers are pushing on a string, and the best overall review they can get is, "We don't need to look at that section. It would be a waste of effort. We saw it before." Nobody wants to make sure that the forthcoming version of the code or the specifications actually match the content of the "already reviewed" portion.

It's actually an issue of quality engineering, and the quality is not generally created by the QA department or by the tech writers. Instead it comes directly from top management, because they are the ones who are in a position to scuttle quality--or quality documentation--by failing to supply the required resources. "No, you may NOT talk to the programmers," said one software manager. "Any questions you have, have to come through ME." Fortunately he was overruled by the management above him.

Some management have hands-on experience and superb people skills that allow them to get everything right without needing to micro-manage. Others have major blind spots but muddle along regardless. We tech writers can occasionally help solve the problems without official support, or even in the face of active resistance. But from what I've seen it's often more worthwhile to go elsewhere, and let the toxic environment die of its own poison.

On Thu, 22 Dec 2016 10:57:04 -0500, Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com> wrote:

Maybe approval workflow software such as Comala Workflows.

The kind of anarchic / chaotic mess you're describing doesn't seem
particularly modern to me. I think that's been a common style at
software companies for over 20 years.

On Thu, Dec 22, 2016 at 5:17 AM, Erika Yanovich <ERIKA_y -at- rad -dot- com> wrote:
The good(?) old 2 drafts and Camera Ready review model seems dated for what is actually going on between writers and reviewers: lots of partial drafts, not enough/too many review cycles, fragmented review (each reviewer is responsible for a set of topics, but no architect responsible overall), skype-based walkthrough reviews. Is there a more modern approach, theoretical or practical that deals with the above problems?
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