RE: writing quality

Subject: RE: writing quality
From: Megan Golding <mgolding -at- secureworks -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 13:35:56 -0500

My docs go through three types of testing before they're "released".
First, we have formal QA to check for agregious errors. Second,
I circulate the document informally among employees who act as
customers. Finally, my company uses a beta test period for new
software and my docs are included in the beta testing.

At my company, all docs bound for external readers go through a
formal QA process, just like our software. The QA team is there
to check technical accuracy. These folks are familiar with the
product and can correct out-and-out errors. Bugs in the docs
are treated just like bugs in the software. They are reported in
our bug tracking database and I fix bugs and send the docs back
to QA for verification.

As for determining "useful and readable", I circulate my docs
to potential audience members in an informal manner. Though the
types of docs I'm talking about here are aimed at our customers,
a good number of our employees could just as easily be customers.
I send the document to them asking for feedback. In all honesty,
this method has met with only limited success. I have trouble
getting other people to actually read the docs.

Finally, the beta test cycle is a great time to work out the
last bugs in docs. This phase is the single most useful for me.
Real users really read the docs and report problems.

Meg Golding
SecureWorks, Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: train2 -at- sprynet -dot- com
Sent: 3/13/01 12:13 PM
Subject: writing quality do we know what we write is useful and readable?
Are there methods for checking? Who tests the documentation?
Looking for a little feedback here.


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