RE: Documentation Quality Metrics

Subject: RE: Documentation Quality Metrics
From: "walden miller" <wmiller -at- vidiom -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 19 Aug 2002 16:39:58 -0600

When I worked at Philips, we went through an exercise to improve quality and
productivity with metrics. I spent one week with the quality accountant ;-D

When he left, we had no metrics nor any hope of any. He left wondering how
any documentation could get done, let alone how "award-winning" docs were
produced. I had started by stating that no metrics would work, but if
metrics were tracked by the documentation department, productivity would
slip causing quality to slip if deadlines were to be met. Then a long
conversation ensued concerning how docs were put together, information
gathered, information checked for veracity, copy-edited, etc. and
eventually, how the docs went to the printer, were shrink-wrapped, etc.
Finally, he agreed we could put some metrics on the shrink-wrapping and
printing (a different department for shrink-wrapping, but I had control over
printing vendor).

Philips idea was to not hire more people, but to work "better." If the
process improves, so will the quality.

Once the process is described, it is usually determined that more staff and
more time is needed to improve quality. This is the opposite conclusion
that is desired.

Philips did not institute any quality or productivity metrics.


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