9 Ways To Peer Review Technical Documents

I’ve always had mixed feelings about peer reviews. What they’re done right, we all learn but like Lesson Learned review can easily degenerate into bitching sessions if not managed correctly.

document-review-checklist

Peer Reviews for Technical Writers

We’ve started to do this on our web-based Technical Writing projects.

Why?

I wanted to take myself more out of the writing tasks and focus more on the project management side of things.

Also, I wanted others to grow into more senior roles and take more responsibility.

And I want the quality of documents to move in the right direction.

This means that at the end of each phase of the Content Development lifecycle, we arrange a peer review between junior and senior technical writers.

Some like it, others not so much. That’s part of managing people!

Peer Reviews Guidelines

You can use these peer review guidelines to get started.

Peer Reviews ensure that your writers benefits for having their documents checked by more experienced developers, writers and testers.

Start the template by adding the following at the cover sheet:

Team Member:

Date Reviewed:

Version:

Team:

Next, describe the steps for the reviewers:

‘Please complete the following form. Attach a copy of the documentation showing your corrections. Highlight needed revisions/errors on this copy.’

Create a checklist as follows:

  1. Mistakes – Is the document free of format, spelling and other mistakes?
  2. Grammar – Does the document have grammar errors?
  3. Typing errors – Does the document have spelling errors?
  4. Wording – Is the wording concise?
  5. Comprehensive – Is feedback from previous reviews included?
  6. Format – Was the proper format or template used?
  7. Version – Is the document version correct?
  8. Consistent – Is this document consistent with other deliverables?
  9. Readiness – Is the document ready to be reviewed?

Include a Comments section so that all evaluators can add their notes. Share the information with all Technical Writers in the review cycle.

Are Peer Reviews Worth the Effort?

We’re beginning to see the returns of this exercise. But it does take time to setup.

How about you? Where do you see most peer reviews going wrong?

Download these templates to start

Acceptance Test Plan

Contingency Plan

Software Development Templates

Acquisition Plan

Conversion Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Action Plan

Cost Benefit Analysis

Software Testing

API Documentation

Database Design

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Audience Analysis

Datasheet

Statement of Work

Availability Plan

Deployment Plan

System Administration Guide

Bill of Materials

Design Document

System Boundary

Business Case

Disaster Recovery Plan

System Design Document

Business Continuity

Disposition Plan

System Specifications

Business Plan

Documentation Plan

Technical Writing Templates

Business Process

Employee Handbook

Test Plan

Business Requirements

Error Message Guide

Training Plan

Business Rules

Expression of Interest

Transition Plan

Capacity Plan

Fact Sheet

Troubleshooting Guide

Case Study

Feasibility Study

Use Case

Change Management Plan

Functional Requirements

User Guide

Communication Plan

Grant Proposal

Verification and Validation Plan

Concept of Operations

Implementation Plan

White Papers

Concept Proposal

Installation Plan

Work Instructions

Configuration Management Plan

Interface Control Document

Software Development Templates

Acceptance Test Plan

Maintenance Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Acquisition Plan

Market Research

Software Testing

Action Plan

Marketing Plan

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

API Documentation

Needs Statement

Statement of Work

Audience Analysis

Operations Guide

System Administration Guide

Availability Plan

Policy Manual

System Boundary

Bill of Materials

Project Plan

System Design Document

Business Case

Proposal Manager Templates

System Specifications

Business Continuity

Proposal Template

Technical Writing Templates

Business Plan

Quality Assurance Plan

Test Plan

Business Process

Release Notes

Training Plan

Business Requirements

Request for Proposal

Transition Plan

Business Rules

Risk Management Plan

Troubleshooting Guide

Capacity Plan

Scope of Work

Use Case

Case Study

Security Plan

User Guide

Change Management Plan

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Verification and Validation Plan

Communication Plan

Setup Guide

White Papers

Concept of Operations

Social Media Policy

Work Instructions

Concept Proposal

Contingency Plan

 

Configuration Management Plan

Conversion Plan