Re: Cost of Documentation

Subject: Re: Cost of Documentation
From: Kent Newton <kentn -at- METRIX-INC -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 20 May 1996 21:16:00 PDT

On Tuesday, May 21, 1996 10:02 AM, Colleen Dancer wrote:
>... At least in Australia people aren't liable over software....
>payouts tend to be much much smaller, and suing more
>infrequent than in the states so it isn't nearly so easy to justify
>documentation on the threat of liability payouts even for hardware. So
>we still get back to the problem of having to try and cost justify doco.

Because it is nearly impossible to justify docs on the basis of a
potential (i.e., imaginary) lawsuit, I think there are only two ways to
justify docs:

(1) As a tool to close sales. While I don't have any statistics on how
much our manuals have helped, our sales managers tell me that the docs
have often played a pivotal role in closing deals. I'm sure some sort of
survey could be done to determine how frequently the docs have influenced
a buyer to select a software package.

(2) As a tool for decreasing support calls. Again, my evidence is
totally anecdotal, but our support people have mentioned that calls have
decreased since our complete doc set has been released.

Both methods add directly to the bottom line, which means documentation
is not a "cost" but an asset. Now if we can just translate this
anecdotal evidence into hard data....

Kent Newton
Senior Technical Writer
Metrix, Inc.
kentn -at- metrix-inc -dot- com

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