Re: TW and QA

Subject: Re: TW and QA
From: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- alltel -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004 09:11:36 -0400

On Wed, 20 Oct 2004 08:50:51 -0400, Goldstein, Dan <DGoldstein -at- DeusTech -dot- com> wrote:

The article described a stunning gap in QA. A failure of the gravity
switches would (and did) lead to the total loss of the $264 million capsule.
Was there no way to test their functioning when installed according to the

When I posted this, I had no idea whether there was a writer or assembly
instructions. It did occur to me that (a) if there wasn't a writer, there
should have been, and (b) if there was a writer, part of the writer's job
was to ask, "How do I know that it works the way that I described it? What
happens if it doesn't?"

I have not yet been formally trained in QA, but as a technical writer, part
of my job is to ask those questions.

Curiously, training in QA often is an impediment to getting these
things right. QA tends to look at the processes that create a vast
number of supposedly identical items, ensuring that they match
certain criteria. It usually ignores happens-once errors, unless
some statistical measurement can be attached. At one place where
I did tech writing, our writing team constantly found software errors,
including design errors, in products that had been thoroughly tested
by the vast and hard-working QA department. "We can ship as soon as
the tech writer stops finding bugs," said one engineer.


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RE: TW and QA: From: Goldstein, Dan

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