Using peer review to reach quality standards

When I first joined Write, I overheard one colleague telling another what had drawn her to the company 10 years earlier. She’d met our CEO, Lynda Harris, who’d mentioned that no document ever left our office ‘until it’s perfect’.

Apparently the inner-perfectionist in my colleague jumped for joy at this comment — she’d met her workplace match.

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A second set of eyes

An integral part of the work we do at Write is peer review. Every document we work on is critiqued before being sent on to a client. We draw on the experiences, skills, and perspectives of one another to make sure documents are flawless.

In the same way that a ‘second pair of eyes’ can help you find a lost set of keys, peer review can pick up details that you’ve missed. And someone else’s perspective can shed new light on something you’ve been fully immersed in.

Peer review helps define a document and keep it consistent with other documents written within an organisation.

Everyone needs to agree about the benefits

To maximise the efficacy of peer review, however, everyone involved has to agree on its benefits. Everyone should recognise that most people invest a great deal of time and effort into their written work. So it’s easy to become protective and sensitive to what could perhaps be seen as ‘nit picking’.

Consider some of the synonyms of peer review: critique, criticism, feedback, evaluation, and analysis. Some of these terms are more intimidating than others. But if you look at them in terms of maintaining quality standards, they’re all very powerful tools.

Trust in the strengths of your colleagues

To accept peer review as a quality measure of work is to acknowledge the calibre of your workmates. And if you’re dubious about that calibre, you might question why you’re working in an environment where your colleagues are not at the same level as you see yourself.

Find out about our Peer Review workshops
See another blog post about peer review

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