Why the review process is broken, and how to fix it

Text by Jang F.M. Graat


Image: © AndreyPopov/

I started my professional career in the late 1980s, and one of my tasks was creating user manuals. I would get the information from the subject matter experts, write a manual that a newbie user would probably understand, print a version to be checked by the experts, incorporate their handwritten remarks and change requests into the original document, possibly do another round of reviewing, and finally send the finished document to the printer. Life was pretty slow those days.

Over the past decades, content creation has dramatically changed, especially after the introduction of XML and DITA. Instead of writing a manual, technical authors now create reusable content components and assemble them into a wide variety of publications. Where we used to write one specific manual for each specific product, we now write small topics about product features and then assemble these documentation ...