Re: Quality

Subject: Re: Quality
From: John Oriel <oriel -at- NTSC-RD -dot- NAVY -dot- MIL>
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1993 09:25:00 EST

Very good about user testing. My interest is in specifications
for items to be purchased by the Government. Our form of user-
testing is called the draft RFP. Draft RFPs help, but don't
completely solve the problem. Feedback is severely constrained
in the public contracting process because we need to ensure that
all offerors are provided with exactly the same information, and
that no one receives preferential treatment.

I've found that we _can_ catalog many types of errors that cause
confusion in specs. Ambiguous pronouns and incomplete references
are two especially interesting ones, because, a computer can flag
them automatically. (In specs, nearly every pronoun is
ambiguous.) There are many more in my catalog. I've found that
the overall quality of specs can be greatly enhanced by fixing
only those bugs that can be recognized easily. That's because
the specs are usually drafted by Government technical people
whose writing skills are rarely on a par with those of
professional writers.

I've written more, but decided to cut it off here and avoid
violating the one-screen rule. Thanks to all for your responses.

John 8-)

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