Reviewing architecture documents

After a grueling round of reviewing some long architecture documents for a new project, I've noticed that I have some required tools and habits I've developed for a first review:

  • Different colored pens and highlighters (where different colors indicate different things like follow-up, possible issue, quality criteria, testing feature, etc...)

  • Post-It tabs are a requirement for any document over 20 pages (where different colors again indicate different things to follow up on)

  • A fresh notebook for the project for notes, ad-hoc drawings, and questions

  • Google - to research abbreviations, terms, and technologies I don't know

  • A photocopier for diagrams that I want to have handy (but don't want to remove from the document without replacing with a copy)

Once completed with an initial review, I'll try to follow up on some of the research tasks (learning new tools, technologies, etc...) right away while it's fresh in my head. Then I'll draft emails full of questions off to various people in the project - sometimes sharing some of my sketches to make sure I understood things correctly.