Re: Tracking document complexity

Subject: Re: Tracking document complexity
From: Steven Jong <SteveFJong -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2003 10:35:36 -0500

In discussing what can and should be measured, I agree that we should measure what's important wherever possible. The point I'm making is that the common objections to the obvious measurements of output and productivity are childish, because real-world measurements are really taken in multiple quality dimensions. Geoff, if in your environment a writer attempted to goose his page output by writing one word per page, do you think your manager would notice? I'm sure the editor would!

There are product and process dimensions to quality; this applies to many things, not just documentation. Product quality involves accuracy, completeness, and clarity; process quality involves time and resources. The two are different. The answer to the question "Is this procedure accurate?" is not "I wrote this book in 22 days." However, the answer to the question "Is this project on schedule?" is equally not "This procedure is accurate." Both questions are legitimate and important; both answers may be correct; but they are not interchangeable. Writers tend to focus on product quality, and aren't interested in process quality. Managers, especially outside the writing function, tend to focus on process quality. But both are important, and looking in both dimensions at once eliminates the possibility of Zeno-like paradoxes.



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