Today I travelled by train towards work and home again. No more pesky traphic jams in the morning. While sitting and just staring out of the windows which wasn’t possible on the road I listened to a phone conversation of a lady. Sorry for snooping the conversation lady!
She told a person on the phone she would “take a look at it” when she got home. Talking about a certain document which she probably needed to review. A somewhat negative feeling got over me, not immediately realizing why. So why did I felt a bit sad about it? Because the person creating the document is not doing it in collaboration with the lady. Instead she documents and hopes for the best when she sends it out and asks for a review. The creator has no influence on the quality of the review because he or she is absent on it. And how do you make the reviewer aware on what to focus?
So I took this post as a way to write down the advantages of creating a document (or rather get some information agreed on) in collaboration with everyone who is gonna review. Maybe we get a certain feeling about the magnitude of it.
- As a creator you will not know how much time is spend on reviewing.
- As a creator you will not know if the thoughts of one reviewer will collide with some other reviewer because thinking is mostly done in other places on the world. No agreement there. The more people will review, the bigger the problem.
- You can not steer towards the real review points on the information. You will get results like typo’s which you didn’t care about. In a conversation you can steer the conversation towards a goal.
- The risk of completely overdoing your work is higher. You probably were writing or documenting ahead because the person didn’t had the time to collaborate.
- The level of detail you need to capture isn’t know. You tend to write down a lot of stuff down just to be sure you were right. All of this can be misinterpreted or misread causing time spend on it.
- Did you ever got the feeling a reviewer “just” agreed. Not caring maybe about the results? You can’t tell every single guy what’s in it for them in a document. This becomes length, so how do you motivate to get a better result using only paper
Something which I should measure someday is the time spend on writing down and reviewing and processing the review points. Including all discussions about what exactly was meant by it. Probably by using e-mail answers on the review points as well.
So when you think about it you better get into collaboration and get everyone in a single room. Some more insights are at the great site of Scott Ambler about Agile Modelling which has a set of principles and values which can help in the collaboration. Interesting about it is that Disciplined Agile Delivery also incorporates some thoughts of agilemodeling.com.
So what experiences are you getting from other more collaboration aware review techniques?