The real world is often nothing like the ideal presented above. People are often unsure as to what their actual responsibilities are in document creation. Furthermore, in many cases, reviews or approvals are also multi-stage processes and thus very complex. Deadlines are unclear or the timing for translation has not been made explicit. All these uncertainties result in an administrative burden for technical writing.
A particularly pressing question is: How is the process then implemented? Do you perhaps still print content to present to your colleagues and obtain their handwritten comments on it? Or are comments made in PDF files sent out by e-mail? Do your colleagues agree on PDF being digital and thus sufficiently advanced and “almost no effort” for you? Whether PDF or paper, both cases result in a paper chase that the technical writing department has to manage. Excel files must help to enable the status in the process, deadlines, reviewer, team leader, approvals, right through to translation to be monitored manually. Comments, suggested changes and the like which, as part of the process, almost certainly also have to be applied manually to the content in the component content management system. At this point, information can easily be lost on someone’s desk and then missed in the approval process. Conventional review processes eat up time and are prone to error!