I needed a simple peer review process that did not involve the problems associated with passing a document around through email, but was simple enough that it could be used immediately without any additional software or end-user training.
I came up with a simple peer review header that I could embed in a Google Doc. The header contains three things:
- Some metadata about the usage and purpose of the content
- A two-sentence user's guide
- A sign-off area
I drop this header on top of any content for which I would like to gather feedback and approval and then share it with my peer group in read-only mode. Users can use chat to discuss changes between themselves or with me, and suggest improvements with the comment feature. Once the review process is complete, users "sign-off" on the document by commenting by their name on the Approval list. It's dead simple and users have responded well to the process.
Since comments and chat are saved with the document, I have a trail of the whole discussion and approval process. One day when I'm feeling really brave, I'll open the content up for editing by the whole group. Google Docs is pretty good about tracking changes to the document, so this may not be as dangerous as it seems. I'll let you know how it goes.
This is very simple to do yourself, but if you want a jumpstart, copy my sample peer review header here.
How are you using Google Apps in interesting collaborative ways? Let me know in the comments.