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Blog Post

Technical Document Review

PeerReview Complete 2012 at IBM Innovate 2012

There are essentially three ways to enable document review:

  • Inspection meetings
  • Multiple document copies distributed via email
  • Serial review enabled by document management systems

Although some organizations have a strict discipline around peer review that includes high-ceremony inspection meetings, most use document-authoring tool features for commenting and annotating documents.  Those users who rely on Microsoft Word to write technical documents know that it's not really a review tool; when authors email the document to their colleagues for review:

  • Reviewers can't see each other's comments
  • Emails cross, causing confusing overlapping threads
  • Authors have to assess and merge each reviewer's feedback by going through each marked-up document

Alternatively, when everyone reviews the same document checked into a repository, as with document management systems, other issues arise:

  • Only one person can review the document at a time
  • The new review cannot begin until the prior review is complete
  • Serial review lengthens the review process

A further fly in the ointment is that, in these cases, metrics are not collected, there is no automated issue tracking or sign-off by key stakeholders, and there is a complete absence of any meaningful interaction among the reviewers unless they all gather in a review meeting (which developers hate.)

Clearly, these processes are flawed.

With PeerReview Complete Document Review Will Never Be the Same

Now, the same leading-edge techniques that software developers use to perform code review are available to members of the broader project development team. Based on SmartBear’s highly-acclaimed collaborative code review techniques that eliminated much of the tedium involved in peer code reviews, PeerReview Complete gives teams the tools they need to do reviews in the most efficient way possible. Reviewers can:

  • Comment on the same, centrally-managed, always-current version
  • Use threaded contextual chats and view other’s comments in real-time
  • Review comments easily since comments are anchored to text and maintain their context even when information is added, deleted or moved
  • Find, flag and track defects through resolution
  • Eliminate crossed emails and maintain comment threads in one place
  • Review artifacts simultaneously or asynchronously, by bringing distributed teams into the review process—without meetings

Reviewers annotate and comment on documents in parallel (click here for full image)

IBM Innovate 2012

SmartBear will demonstrate a preview of these upcoming features (as well as the new electronic signature capability) in PeerReview Complete at IBM Software Innovate 2012 in booth 413. The event runs through June 7 in Orlando, Fla. Visitors to the booth that are interested in participating in our Beta program should ask for John Lockhart, the Product Manager for SmartBear’s Peer Review Products.

Watch a video overview of PeerReview Complete with IBM Rational Team Concert (RTC) below.

More Stories By Alex Forbes

Alex Forbes is a B2B software marketing leader with experience in analyst relations, content marketing and product marketing. He follows the IoT, rapid application development, and cloud markets to help customers improve their digital transformation initiatives, customers' buyer journeys and experience from both an IT and business perspective.

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