Session 05: Production

Session 05: Production

Session 04: Assess Solution
Session 06: Implementation

Hey there, welcome to this session of the Review Forum project where I am establishing a system for Cryptiquest content to be reviewed. In the last session, the previously implemented system was assessed for flaws which led to the establishment of some action items. In this session, I am addressing the first action item: Update the Project Management Standards to reflect the outreach plan for reviewers among the target audience.

To start, here is the current text about the review process from the Project Management standards (there are 4 steps):


Step 1: Conduct a need-analysis based on your draft.

Now that a draft has been created, it’s a good time to assess what target audience would benefit from this product and how this product meets their needs. Write this down as explicitly as you can.

This step is crucial at this time since reviewers often wonder how they are supposed to perceive the material. They will want to know for what kind of audience they are reading and what that audience is supposed to take away. The reviewers who want to know these things do so because they want to advise you more effectively so it’s in your best interest to provide this information.

Step 2: Prepare the drafted work for external review.

Prepare the drafts in the medium in which you are going to share them with the reviewers. Are you going to print out the material and mail/hand it to them? Are you going to place it into a cloud service and email it or message them on a social media platform? However you plan on presenting it to them, prepare it and perform another review (silent-read through). Sometimes seeing it in the new format reveals typos you missed the first time.

Step 3: Send the drafted work for confidant review.

The first draft for an external audience is sent to one or two confidants. Ask them if they would be willing to critique your work but be respectful of their time. When asking for their help, provide them with the amount of reading involved before they commit. Only upon their acceptance of the critique should you provide them with the work (to avoid the risk of coming off as presumptuous).

Step 4: Edit the work then send out for second-draft review.

Ensure you thank your reviewers upon their review. It is important to note that you do not need to implement every (or any) change that they suggest. Often times, reviewers are good at identifying problems but their solutions are less helpful (since they cannot fully understand the intent of your work as well as you). Carefully consider the suggestions and make changes that help meet your project’s needs.

Once you make the changes, send the latest draft to the “second-draft” group. This group of people should consist of 3 – 5 people who are different than the confidants. It’s good to have a larger pool to choose from as this group might not be as regularly committed to the task or as knowledgeable of your cause. Despite this, their critiques are just as valuable and their efforts should be equally appreciated. Again, be respectful of them and their time: ask them if they are willing to critique your work and wait for their affirmation before sending them the material.

If you do not have a group of “second-draft” reviewers at-the-ready, consider joining an online forum or finding a local group in a newspaper or library.


So, what needs to be added? For “Step 1: Conduct a need-analysis based on your draft”, I need to add instructions for seeking out the target audience that is defined. In “Step 4: Edit the work then send out for second-draft review”, I need to add instructions to actually reach out to the target audience. Also, during the “Phase 6: Retrospective” section, there should be a decommission process outlined.

I’ll start with modifying step 1:


Step 1: Conduct a need-analysis based on your draft.

Now that a draft has been created, it’s a good time to research the target audience for the project. You need to explicitly answer the following questions:

  • Who would benefit from this product?
  • How does this product meets their needs?
  • How do I reach the audience?

Even though you might not be reaching out to the target audience until a few steps later, performing the need-analysis now is crucial since reviewers often wonder how they are supposed to perceive the material. They will want to know for what kind of audience they are reading and what that audience is supposed to take away. The reviewers who want to know these things do so because they want to advise you more effectively so it’s in your best interest to provide this information.


And here is the updates for Step 4…


Step 4: Edit the work then send out for second-draft review.

Ensure you thank your reviewers upon their review. It is important to note that you do not need to implement every (or any) change that they suggest. Often times, reviewers are good at identifying problems but their solutions are less helpful (since they cannot fully understand the intent of your work as well as you). Carefully consider the suggestions and make changes that help meet your project’s needs.

Once you make the changes, send the latest draft to the “second-draft” group. Reach out to the target audience using the methods you identified in Step 1 (if possible). This group of people should consist of 3 – 5 people who are different than the confidants. It’s good to have a larger pool to choose from as this group might not be as regularly committed to the task or as knowledgeable of your cause. Despite this, their critiques are just as valuable and their efforts should be equally appreciated. Again, be respectful of them and their time: ask them if they are willing to critique your work and wait for their affirmation before sending them the material.

If you do not have a group of “second-draft” reviewers at-the-ready, consider joining an online forum or finding a local group in a newspaper or library.


Now for the more robust step of adding decommission instructions. I had originally intended to add them to Phase 6: Retrospective but I think this may be its own new section, a Phase 7: Close. I’ve been debating whether closing the project should happen before or after the retrospective but I think it should happen after in case close tasks are discovered during the retrospective. I’ll put the close phase at the end for now and if I need to change in the future, so be it.

Here is the first draft of the Close phase:


Phase 7: Close

By then end of this phase you will have tied up loose ends including decommissioning any drafts and cleaning up file structures.

Step 1: Identify the loose ends.

Most of your loose ends have been identified in the Retrospective but now is the chance to identify any remaining tasks that are not tied to issues. Specifically, what are the files, posts, notes, and other project documents that need to be moved, archived, deleted, or otherwise manipulated in order to make future projects easier to manage.

Do not feel as though you need to clean up identified loose ends right away. Instead, start a task list and append newly identified loose ends to the list. You will tackle the task list once it feels complete.

For example, if the drafts you prepared for review were uploaded to a cloud-based drive, you should archive those drafts to a different folder so future reviewers won’t get confused with what they are supposed to look at. For now, write down “Archive Review Drafts” on your task list and keep thinking of loose ends.

Step 2: Tie up those loose ends.

With a task list prepared, work at the tasks until they are complete. You should do this before starting the next project.

Afterwards, you should take a moment to reflect on the work you did. Something new exists in the world because of you and hopefully it’s positively affecting people as you read this or will help you in the future. But don’t celebrate for too long – the next project awaits!


That’s nice. I like that. The Retrospective, while imperative, was a poor substitute of a project closure. This makes it official while adding some optimism. Often I’ve finished projects that felt like disasters because of the issues that cropped up only to ignore the good parts. Adding a moment of positive reflection wasn’t something I could sneak in there.

I suppose, while not an official project, I should have this content reviewed. I don’t have a protocol for project updates like this. Perhaps that is something I need to invent, something like a “Content Review Matrix” that would feature questions with a range of answers and the level of review will depend on where the updates align in the matrix.

I’ll add that as a new project. For now, I’m going to assume since the unofficial audience for the “Project Guidelines” is me, I don’t need to have a robust review process. I will send it out to confidants for feedback and go from there.

Action Items

  • Prepare content for review and send it to confidants
  • Add a new project for “Content Review Matrix”
Session 04: Assess Solution
Session 06: Implementation