Re: Technical Writing to Quality Management - feasable ?

Subject: Re: Technical Writing to Quality Management - feasable ?
From: Damien Braniff <Damien -dot- Braniff -at- asg -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2012 11:13:12 +0000

I'd say it is feasible (depending on your area of expertise). When I was made redundant in the 80s I went back to college (nights) to study Quality - aimed to add another string to my bow and broaden opportunities. What I learned from the person who taught most of the course is that there are two types of quality. J

One relates to product quality where you can physically measure the quality - e.g., purity of steel etc

Other is (most prevelant?) is the QMS (e.g. ISO9000, TickIT, etc) which he said was more about consistency though, if done well, could improve quality. As Gene (I think!) said there will always be the new 'latest and greatest'... If you have a QMS in place and blindly follow it you will produce consistent output - good or bad! Adapting it can make the output better...

What I was taught was:
Document what you DO, not what you think you should be doing. Audited against procedures so make sure they match what you do.
Only keep info/data you need or will use (he said the number of companies with data they didn't use was frightening - stored because the QMS said it should be!)
Review your procedures to see where you can make improvements, try them and, if they work, update your procedures.
Repeat! The aim is to find the 'best' (however you define it!) way to perform your particular function (be if develop software or whatever) and ensure people follow it. If they're not following it either they're doing it better (change procedures!) or the need to be reminded to follow the procedures!

I got my next job on the basis of my QA course - TW as a sw company that were applying for TickIT so I got to create the first QMS that they used. Did internal auditing at my next job too but now back to just TWing.

Damien Braniff
Sr. Technical Writer
damienb -at- asg -dot- com<mailto:damienb -at- asg -dot- com>
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