What is quality?

Subject: What is quality?
From: Pam Tatge <pamt -at- STEINBECK -dot- SC -dot- TI -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 1994 14:31:05 CST

Most of the discussions about determining the quality of our
documentation have centered on customer inputs, and I agree that
this is very important. But, I have another question. Much of the
TQM training that I've endured/enjoyed says that in addition to
getting customer inputs, you must also benchmark your product
against that of the industry leader.

So, if you were going to benchmark your documentation, who would
you treat as the "industry leader" for documentation?

I'm also wondering if it's necessary to restrict the comparison to
the same industry. For example (this sometimes draws some hoots), I've
been told that MicroSoft documentation is "the best", and that they
represent the level of quality that all writers should aim for.
Regardless of whether or not MicroSoft really is the best, they
sell software, we sell chips; they write for a large audience with
a wide variety of experience and education, we write for an
audience with a very specific type of experience and education (but
our audience is also a subset of MicroSoft's). For documentation,
could you consider "the industry" to be all companies that produce
technical documentation?

Anyway, who would you consider to be the benchmark?

Pam Tatge, Member Group Technical Staff
Texas Instruments Semiconductor Group, Houston
pamt -at- steinbeck -dot- sc -dot- ti -dot- com

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