Simple guidelines for running technical document reviews remotely

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With some clear expectations and a little planning upfront, running remote writing and document review projects can go smoothlyHere are some lessons I learned when I was a freelancer about running remote writing and editing projects:

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12 truths you learn as a contract technical writer

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Working as a contract technical writer like I did earlier in my career can teach a lot of life lessons and illuminate a lot of truths into human nature. I’ve seen a lot working with commercial, Federal, non-profit, and non-governmental organizations.

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My Word template manifesto

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For reasons that continue to elude me, I’ve come across a lot of Microsoft Word template issues in my time. Some templates were so bad that what should be a simple productivity tool ends up hobbling documentation efforts. Finding template issues is a never-ending source of disappointment for me. Perhaps it’s because I usually create templates in the early stages of a project and keep the fuss to a minimum.

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Lessons learned from working as a computer book industry technical reviewer

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I was a computer book technical reviewer earlier in my career. It was a freelance gig, but I still consider the work one of the more formative chapters in my professional writing career even though it wasn’t writing work.

Computer book technical reviewers sometimes called technical editors are responsible for ensuring the technical accuracy of information technology book manuscripts. The work taught me to pay attention to technical details, which in turn went on to influence my work as a technical writer and freelance writer.

The lessons I learned include:

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The gentle art of project documentation control

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Managing project documents can be an underappreciated art in some organizations. It’s an area where a technical writer should take charge. I’ve seen document control of all stripes throughout my career. Document control that works. Document control that didn’t work. Even document control that caused a near staff rebellion. I’ve even seen no formal document control practices.
While compliance programs like COSO and Sarbanes Oxley require document control over project documents, it also makes good business sense.
Here are some tips for implementing document control within your project team or organization:

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4 reasons why your document reviews aren’t working

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I’ve long been a student of technical document reviews. So much so, I worked as a technical reviewer for some computer book publishers to learn more about this critical element of the technical communications. Back then I thought I could do a better job than the reviewers where I was working at the time). Editorial and technical reviews are integral parts of the technical publications process. Unfortunately, so many organizations fumble through the review cycle.

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