Re: Documentation Metrics

Subject: Re: Documentation Metrics
From: quills -at- airmail -dot- net
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 2002 08:11:38 -0500

At 12:00 PM +0530 6/4/02, Asha Mokashi wrote:

Hi !

I would like to know whether any of you are involved with
collecting metrics for assessing user documentation quality in your
teams/organizations. If yes,

* What criteria do you use to verify if a document is good, in the
absence of user feedback ?
* What processes do you follow to collect metrics and what are the
benefits and drawbacks ?
* Is it possible to have an absolutely objective and complete
measurement of documentation quality in the absence of user feedback ?
* Any documents/books/sites you have found particularly useful ?


Quality metrics for documentation is not easily gathered, nor is it easily quantifiable, which is what your superiors want, numbers. Without user feedback you don't have a good measurement. The user is the measuring stick.

The only other measurement in the absence of user feedback is matching the documentation with the specification. (ha, ha, ha) That, of course, is not going to produce reliable metrics since the specifications are usually not complete, up to date, or accurate for the software and sometimes even hardware.

The real world estimate of document quality is does it accurately reflect the item you are documenting. Does it tell the user everything they need to know.

Quality metrics NEVER exists just to have numbers for reports and bosses. They exist to tell you what is going wrong with your processes so you can refined them.

Otherwise you are collecting data just to collect data for reports that help nothing and only consume your time. In other words, they are a waste.

Avoid number of keystrokes, number of times rewritten, time taken to complete. The powers that be will insists that you reduce these, and they do not indicate quality, just speed. The faster you do something may reduce the quality.

We used other metrics, like how long does it take to retrieve a review from an SME. But mostly we didn't have document quality metrics. Our metrics were project oriented.


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Documentation Metrics: From: Asha Mokashi

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