Newsletter of the Society for Technical Communication, San Francisco Chapter
December 2009/January 2010
It was all fun and games until two Frenchmen showed up. . . .
Jeff Boudier and Fabrice Talbot organized an evening of games to review the review process. We were split into two groups and participated in three games, each with two parts.
The first game, Tops & Flops, had us lamenting our review horrors and evangelizing our successes. Some common horrors were:
Some common successes were:
The second game, Version Madness, compared reviewing multiple copies to reviewing a central document. Although reviewing multiple copies allowed us work independently, merging everyone's feedback for a final version was long and tedious. Working as a group on one copy brought conflicting questions to light earlier and facilitated resolutions, as there was no tracking down which reviewer said what and which one contradicted. Working on one version also helps reviewers and all team members follow their tasks within the process.
The third game, Structured vs. Unstructured Collaboration, had us reviewing a wiki approach versus a real-time structured approach to collaboration. Both proved to have their merits. The wiki or unstructured approach was definitely more time consuming, but we could see its benefits for very large teams (100+ people). Structured collaboration was efficient and simple for everyone, especially when managed well.
As a treat for our participation (and for not laughing too hard at their accents), Jeff and Fabrice presented a short video demonstration of LiveTechDocs (http://www.agiledoc.com), which aims to alleviate review pains make the process fun (read simple and quick) for everyone. They are open to feedback and suggestions from our community. Post your thoughts at: http://community.livetechdocs.com.
Teresa has a Bachelor of Science in International Communications and Technology from the University of Washington in Seattle and over twelve years experience in technical communications. Her expertise lies in XML publishing for hardware and software companies of all sizes. She is a senior member of the STC and has worked in the US, Spain, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.