What are the most useful quality metrics for technical writers' projects?

Subject: What are the most useful quality metrics for technical writers' projects?
From: nospam -at- o2 -dot- pl
To: TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 09 Apr 2008 14:29:13 +0200

There is a couple of them, which are collected automatically by internal tools, like for example cost of quality, cost of poor quality, review coverage etc. Do you find them valuable in terms of tracking and improving documentation projects?

We are also about to start gathering data on productivity. Are you aware of any good practices for measuring productivity and tools helping to achieve it (preferably for xml-based content)?

Some clarification is required here to not let the discussion go astray.

1. The goal is to identify and develop a common set of metrics to be tracked that presents how well the unit is performing on an annual basis.

2. Technical writers can't be part of the software team, they work separately in teams of technical writers. Also it is not possible to limit the number of reviewers or reviews.

3. All possible mistakes in the documentation are technical (e.g. missing steps, wrong parameters, obsolete data, etc.). Only so called subject matter experts are capable of catching them, but sometimes, due to their unavailability, limited timeframe or number of reviews, the errors are missed. There are no software tools able to verify the documentation in this area.

4. Productivity is understand as "The measurement of the creation of some artifact (or service) for a level of effort over a unit of time."

Question also available on http://www.linkedin.com/answers/business-operations/project-management/OPS_PRJ/206736-10874368?browseIdx=0&sik=1207742555957&goback=%2Eamq.

Krzysztof Kolczyk

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