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Best Practice

Document Processing Guidelines

Document processing techniques are as important as the idea generation process and iterating the message for just the right tone. The way a document is processed can mean the difference between hitting a deadline or not and whether it is high quality when it does go final. There are a few simple and smart guidelines to employ when going into a production process.

The larger the team the greater the chance for double masters and missed deadlines. Also when teams section the document so it can be worked on simultaneously by different team members, the writing styles and graphics need to be reviewed and edited so that the presentation has one "voice" and one "face" when it goes final.

If you use a team software/server where the document can be checked in and out and worked on by different members of the team, you are one step ahead of the game at preventing double masters. If you do not use a team server, appoint a team point person (gatekeeper). This person ushers the document through the process of development and editing by keeping track of who has the electronic and hard copy masters and managing the circulation of the document so that all team members' comments are included.

Even if you use software/server to control the master, It is still very important to lay the production process ground rules at a production kick off meeting so that every member of the team is aware of their contribution a smooth process. It is absolutely essential to keep the team from double (or triple) processing, because reconciling a document that has split is time consuming and tricky: who's comments trump the others', do they always trump the others', who is appointed to the time-consuming task of reconciling the two/three masters.