Re: Cost per page metrics

Subject: Re: Cost per page metrics
From: Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Broberg, Mats" <mabr -at- flir -dot- se>
Date: Tue, 8 Sep 2009 09:42:02 -0400

> While I agree that it is not a perfect parameter, "cost per page" seems
> to be the parameter of choice when benchmarking technical documentation
> costs within the industry. Not for companies who produce 2-3 manuals per
> year ofcourse, but for larger corporations who output hundreds of
> thousands of pages per year.

Large companies tend to stick to old metrics unless those metrics need
to drastically change to support a new goal. I've worked with large
and small companies. Where cost per page was used, way too much time
and effort was spent looking for meaningful ways to present the
metrics both to upper management and to those doing the work. That, to
me, says they were the wrong metrics to gather.

> "Cost per word" would be very misleading, since a 100 page manual with
> technical illustrations then would "cost" almost nothing to produce for
> a corporation. Which isn't true ofcource, hence the "cost per page"
> parameter, which takes into account labour, salaries, IT solutions,
> real-estate, etc.

Cost per Word is just another definition of a metric. Labor, IT
solutions, real estate, and other items can be equally represented in
a word or a page. Both require a definition, but either way your
measurement is still on output and does not speak at all to quality,
customer satisfaction, or translates into any kind of useful business
metric. It's just volume.

> There are several whitepapers and theses about this, e.g. in "Technical
> Communication". I just couldn't find any direct figures to compare our
> figures with.

I think you will find that they are either old or are measuring
something very specific.

Let's back up. Why do you need to collect metrics in the first place?
What problem are you trying to analyze?

--
Bill Swallow

Twitter: @techcommdood
Blog: http://techcommdood.com
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References:
Cost per page metrics: From: Broberg, Mats
Re: Cost per page metrics: From: Gene Kim-Eng
RE: Cost per page metrics: From: Broberg, Mats

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