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I often encounter the requirement to collaboratively write a document in response to a broad question. The questions are often vague, of strategic nature and require input from 1-10 people.

Currently the process (if one can call it that) is as follows:

  1. The question is asked by some internal/external client.
  2. One person takes the lead in answering, and starts drafting a document, e.g.:
    • Project A could contribute here as it works on technology Y...
    • The question does not take into account aspects X, I know person Z could provide valuable input...
    • In roadmap R we already foresaw the development of technology Q, which might be relevant, but only in 2026...
    • Etc...
  3. The leading person then shares this document to other people, which might add new (sub)points, or react to existing ones.
  4. At some point in the future the leading person summarizes this, re-wording it from an outline into an actual document and a first version of the document is provided to the client.
  5. Client gives feedback on the first version, which often results in the repetition of step 2-4 using the first version as a basis.
  6. This process can take weeks, sometimes months before a final version is delivered.

I am trying to understand what tools exist that can aid in this document writing process. The problems we run into now is that there is no clear history on why a certain text part is included or removed. While Words "Track changes" can help to some extent, it becomes unwieldy quickly over time.

What software tool can help in writing a collaborative document, that clearly shows what historical decisions are made that lead to certain text being included/removed?

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