Content management techniques

After you complete your first draft, you will need to have it reviewed. We recommend that the information be reviewed by people other than the authors. Reviewing your own work is almost impossible because you tend to read the content as you want it to read, not as it actually is.

There are usually four drafts in a good documentation process:

  • First Draft: To check the content for technical accuracy and completeness. The first draft review should be performed by technical people with an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter. They do not have to worry about spelling and grammar (however, they should obviously note any problems they do find).
  • Second Draft: To confirm that the comments of the first draft have been incorporated and to provide a thorough check on grammar and spelling. This review should be passed back to the reviewers of the first review to check that their comments were accurately included, and then to people with good grammar skills.
  • Final Draft: To confirm the comments of the second draft and to allow final comments on any aspect of the content, presentation, and layout.
  • Proof Draft: This is the finished content, and is just given a final OK before mass distribution or printing. At this point, only very minor changes to fix errors should be made.

You should put all output formats of your content through the final draft and proof draft stages.