Further to my original entry on ‘Before Writing’ this post will cover off a number of items that will be addressed in the creation of the initial draft of a document.
The Author prepares the document following the standards and procedures of the consulting company or the customer based on templates and existing documents to maintain consistency with previous documentation. In some cases, you may be creating new templates and formats for future documents, in which case the template and format should be reviewed and approved prior to adding specific content.
Prior to releasing the document for further review, the document author uses the spell checker, grammar checker and general document checklist to check the document.
The spell checker should use a common, project-wide dictionary which contains project specific acronyms and technical terms. These terms and acronyms should be added to the dictionary or to a custom dictionary only in the form that they are supposed to be used. This way acronyms which are to be all upper case or in a special mixed case format will appear in the dictionary in that specific format. Any alternate formats will be underlined by the spell checker, and the proper usage will be offered.
The grammar checker is used to ensure that proper business English is used.
The general document checklist identifies other checks to be performed.
When the document author feels that the document is ready for review he or she passes a copy and the completed checklist to the Work Team Manager. This manager, with assistance as needed from other members of the work team, reviews the document, adds any amendments and comments, and returns the document and checklist.
The review at this stage is primarily for content, technical accuracy and feasibility.
The author makes changes, reprints the document, reruns the internal checks, makes another visual review of the amended pages and a final visual inspection of the entire document. He or she then submits the amended copy with the completed checklist to the Work Team Manager.
When the Work Team Manager is satisfied that the document is ready for release for formal review, he or she then releases the document to the Data Management Coordinator, providing a hard and soft copy of the document along with a signed release form and the completed document checklist. This does not occur until the Work Team Manager believes it is the best effort of the team and could be delivered to the customer.