Your first step is to have a clearly defined review team with a project manager/champion to help lead them through the process. Once you have solidified that review team – here are some types of people you might work with and some suggestions on how to make it go smoother.
This person wants to know what is going on at a high level but not be in the weeds. They don’t have a lot of specific comments and they don’t have much time for deadlines. They do want to know the project’s approval status at all times. If a deadline is missed or inaccurate content is released, they want to know why.
Solution: Give the Curious Stakeholder a defined role like Observer. They get to see all comments and edits and receive all notifications of new versions, deadlines, and approvals. However, while they can comment they are not required to approve anything by a deadline.
This person does not have the bandwidth for multiple rounds of reviews. They can only review when the content is more or less approved by everyone else and then make their comments. Once.
Solution: Do the early iterative reviews with a smaller team that has more bandwidth with their own deadlines. Once you have a version that the smaller team is happy with, send it to the Final Reviewer with a new deadline. Tight version control is a must to make this work.
This person will perform their review by the deadline… just…and only if they get a few reminders.
Solution: There are a few tools to help manage this scenario. Use automatic email reminders at intervals as deadlines get closer. Whenever possible use social proof – dashboards or email notifications that show the approval team which team members have approved and which have not. Always make sure the team can see each other’s edits/comments to speed up the review process for everyone. Don’t forget to use Metadata to provide reviewers with direction, context or to save them time.
This person works remotely or travels constantly and they go for long periods without replying to email or voicemail. Deadlines can be nerve wracking sometimes because the team is not sure if the Remote Approver knows that their approval is required, let alone when.
Solution: Have one source of the truth and track all reviewer comments in one place. Automatically generate notification emails if there is no response within a certain period to the Remote Approver and the Project Manager. Have a pre-arranged escalation plan if they cannot be reached in time (ex. Transfer review responsibilities to their manager or the Project Manager)
The Wildcard is a person and an event. Massive edits come in, sometimes close to the deadline. They have to be made and then everyone who has already reviewed (and maybe approved) has to be notified and asked to review again – quickly.
Solution: This situation will test your approval team and process. You will need tight version control and detailed metadata to give the reviewers context for what has happened (big unexpected edits!) and what they are supposed to do (ex. review just the two new intro pages of the 50 page document) and when (by tonight!). Reviewers will need to be able to see each other’s comments/edits to avoid duplication of work or worse – conflicting edits.
One final note – if at all possible, try to have an audit log that is automatically tracking who does what and when. If an approval gets audited you do not want to have to go back through your teams’ emails to piece together who approved which version and when.
Papercurve helps streamline compliance reviews in regulated industries like cannabis and life sciences. Manage approvers, comment, reference attached documents and archive past versions for audit – all in an easy to use interface.Learn more