December 2022

The 12 Days of Christmas

head shot of smiling woman with medium length straight light hair wearing glassesDawn Stevens, Comtech Services

My warmest holiday wishes to all of you! I hope that you are each filled with joy and cookies as you finish up another year.

In keeping with my annual tradition of reworking holiday classics for our industry, this year I offer to you multiple versions of the holiday mind-numbing song, The Twelve Days of Christmas. As a present to you, I have only given you the final verse for each version, rather than 12 days worth of endless repetition. I trust, however, that you will dutifully sing all twelve verses in your head (or perhaps to your teammates).

Looking forward to a great 2023!


The 12 Days of (Editorial) Reviews

After 12 days of reviewing, my editor sent to me

  • Twelve misplaced modifiers
  • Eleven extraneous adverbs
  • Ten jargon phrases
  • Nine passive paragraphs
  • Eight run-on sentences
  • Seven nominalizations
  • Six lost antecedents
  • Five misspelled words
  • Four ambiguous meanings
  • Three grammatical errors
  • Two awkward sections
  • And a reference to the corporate style guide

The 12 Days of (Technical) Reviews

After 12 days of reviewing, my SME sent to me

  • Twelve unreadable scribbles
  • Eleven pages of rewrites
  • Ten unnecessary word changes
  • Nine modified requirements
  • Eight referrals to others
  • Seven conflicting comments
  • Six redesigned screens
  • Five unexplained highlights
  • Four requests to see them
  • Three technical errors
  • Two brand new features
  • And an email asking for more time

The 12 Weeks of Engagement

In the 12th week of engagement my consultant sent to me

  • Twelve hours of instruction
  • Eleven detailed examples
  • Ten style guide chapters
  • Nine taxonomy branches
  • Eight topic templates
  • Seven user personas
  • Six reuse methods
  • Five output transforms
  • Four portal wireframes
  • Three specializations
  • Two tool suggestions
  • And a universal content strategy!

About the Author: Dawn Stevens is CIDM’s Director and President of Comtech Services. She has over 30 years of practical experience in virtually every role within a documentation and training department including project management, instructional design, writing, editing, and multimedia programming.