If the review is already announced, a message needs to be send to the reviewers containing the new date and a request to reschedule the review activity. When the new delivery date is unknown, mention to the reviewers that the review is cancelled for now and a new announcement or review request will follow as soon as the new delivery date is known.
If the review is not announced yet, check if the delay is already known by the responsible manager(s). If so, update your review planning accordingly.
In theory, new comments during the approval phase should only be related to reworked parts of the document. The formal review phase is passed so all comments should be noted in the review form.
However, during the approval phase you might run into the situation where new comments arise. There are different reasons for that and different actions to take. In all situations common sense of the moderator and willingness of the involved will determine what needs to happen.
Causes for new comments
- Disapproval of rework
- New insights and second thoughts
- Changes in context
- Review was done perfunctory or was done not at all
How to deal with this
Normally, all issues that need to be fixed before the next project phase is entered will help in saving time and money. The need is to be decided by the author and the reviewer, with some help of the moderator.
- Majors need to be fixed.
- Lot’s of minors: need to be fixed.
- Typo’s don’t need to be fixed.
Depending on the amount of fixes, the approval phase needs to be redone or the updated document needs to be spread “for your information” to all reviewers. A good moment for this last action is during the finalization of the process. (Together with the review report)
Next to the question about fixing or not, the moderator has an action to take to discourage this behavior in the future. All comments (except for disapprovals of rework) in the approval phase cause the review process to become inefficient. Since the review process is owned by the moderator, the moderator is responsible for keeping it as efficient as possible.
Inform the reviewers about the extra work they cause by providing comments in the approval phase. Let them know you’ll try to get everything reworked, but also that the new rework will cause extra work for all other reviewer to re-check.
Sometimes announced, sometimes not announced: comments can get delivered áfter the review deadline. The moderator has to deal with this, depending on the situation but always with a doses of common sense.
When a reviewer announces not to be able to make the review deadline, this must be encouraged. Open communication is a good thing and it opens possibilities to search for a solution. Some possibilities are:
- Stretch the deadline for all reviewers
- Stretch the deadline for the single reviewer, and wait for his comments before merging. Inform the author of a delay in delivery of comments.
- Stretch the deadline for the single reviewer, but don’t wait for this comments. Inform the author of a delay in delivery of comments from this specific reviewer.
- Try to get a colleague or second reviewer to take over the review activities.
- See if the reviewer’s priorities can be rescheduled.
- Accept the risk of not having the comments from this reviewer (especially if this was an optional reviewer). This must be done together with the QA-manager.
If not announced
This must be discouraged. The moderator has already requested and reminded the reviewer to be in time or to inform the moderator if the deadlines can not be made. Comments that are too late must be checked for impact and the moderator, together with the QA-manager and author, must decide what to do with it. Some possibilities are:
- Accept the late delivery and send an update of the merged review form to the author.
- Accept part of the comments
- Reject all comments
If Majors still can be fixed before the next project phase commences, it might still be worth it to let it be fixed since it will save time or money.
The moderator needs to protect the review process. So, the reviewer must be made clear this behavior is not accepted and good alternatives are available. (Namely: the reviewer is asked to mention it in time if the deadline can not be met.)