Recently, I was blessed to have seven people read my MG novel and give feedback. (You are all awesome!) Then I discovered something. I'd never had more than three betas read a manuscript before. Organizing and managing feedback from seven people is more challenging than processing feedback from just three. Most of the readers agreed on the main points, but each also made comments unique to him- or herself. I knew that going through the ms. seven times from start to finish wouldn't be efficient, and could result in doing rewrites that would only be canceled out later when a suggestion I liked better came along. After a moment's thought, I turned to my spreadsheet program.
I highlighted the points from each beta reader's letter (did I mention these people are awesome?) that were major, that were important-minor, and anything else I agreed with. Then I listed the points in rows on the spreadsheet. This way, everything was mentioned, but mentioned once only. I assigned each reader a column, and put her or his name in the intersecting cell if they had brought up that point. When the spreadsheet was done, I could see at a glance, on one sheet, what needed to be addressed and which points were the most important, i.e., the ones with the most mentions.
I'm sure I'm hardly the first to try this method. Have you used it? Have you discovered/invented any other writing tips lately?