Re: How do you ensure document quality?

Subject: Re: How do you ensure document quality?
From: Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2012 13:16:05 -0500

The quality standards of many organizations frequently don't address documentation quality at all. It seems to me that many organizations have little to no understanding of what quality documentation entails. Their goal is often to be able to place a checkmark in the product plan in the checkbox that says "Documentation". Note that that checkbox is seldom labeled "High-quality documentation".

It's up to us as technical writers to give the end users the best quality documentation we can, often with little to no guidance from our own organization as to what that means. That's where our experience and training comes in and we need to be vocal advocates for the end user.

Best regards,

Mike Starr WriteStarr Information Services
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - WordPress Websites
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - Custom Microsoft Word templates
(262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com -
President - Working Writers of Wisconsin

On 9/13/2012 12:48 PM, Peter Neilson wrote:

A quality effort is generally driven from above. To the folks in the trenches it can vary from, "Thank God someone is finally dedicated to doing things right," to, "SSDD." (Same fertilizer, different day.) Do they want quality, or only the appearance of quality? Or are they trying to match some ISO standard imposed by a person in Brussels who has never written a paragraph of documentation, ever?

The quality manager's view (my wife has been one) is, "I'll get fired or go to prison if I sign the certificate, because this crap does not meet specs. On the other hand, I'll be fired for disobeying orders if I don't sign it. What shall I do? Once again, I'll quit, and hope the next place is more honest."

Some doc quality standards are warped. "Must be Flesch-Kincaid Grade 4 or lower."

Jaundiced opinions abound. I think I own one.

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How do you ensure document quality?: From: david hendler
Re: How do you ensure document quality?: From: Peter Neilson

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