Re: product documentation liability

Subject: Re: product documentation liability
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2013 05:45:25 -0500

On Wed, 27 Feb 2013 01:09:10 -0500, Debbie Hemstreet <D_Hemstreet -at- rambam -dot- health -dot- gov -dot- il> wrote:

Look in the pharmaceutical industry, devices, and quality issues - documentation is everything in these industries.

I don't know the link, I'm sure others do. The most well-known documentation flub had to do with a shuttle disaster. The error was traced to documentation!

Looked for the Shuttle "documentation" problem and did not find it.

In my experience blaming "documentation" for an error is not unlike blaming QC for bad production. "We had a problem with quality. Too much product was being rejected. So we fired the quality manager." I have seen "documentation" listed as the cause of a software error: "Product does not work as described in documentation."

"Documentation" errors can be caused by several factors:
1. Documentation not provided.
2. Obsolete documentation provided.
3. Deliberately false documentation provided.
4. No information available to documentation team.
5. False information provided to documentation team.
6. Written documents not reviewed for technical accuracy.

Now, which of these is the fault of the technical writer?
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References:
product documentation liability: From: Simon
RE: product documentation liability: From: Debbie Hemstreet

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