Do you do QA?

Subject: Do you do QA?
From: Steve Shewchuk <sshewchu -at- IGOR -dot- UWI -dot- BC -dot- CA>
Date: Wed, 31 Jul 1996 08:43:36 -0700

Karen said:

>My coworker and I were recently informed that we were expected to perform QA
>functions in addition to our writing responsibilities, and that QA engineers
>would also be responsible for writing end-user documentation. In our combined
>25+ years of experience, we have never been asked to do such a thing. We do not
>have the training to do real QA testing.

I say:

Well, my company develops software. As a natural extension of learning to
use that software so that I can document it, yes, I do QA. I also talk to
the programmers about other issues involved in the production of the
software: ease of use, functionality, aesthetics, language, etc.

One of my co-workers said something to me once that made a lot of sense:
"If its really hard to document, there's probably something wrong with the
way its set up in the first place." Seems to be a fairly reasonable
assumption, given that we're striving to make software that is both
functional and easy to use.

But then, this is a smallish company, and there can be a fair bit of
overlap in jobs at times. My first week or two here were spent doing QA
and other duties, mostly because I couldn't write about the product until I
had learned how to use it.

In general, assuming I have time, I'm happy to do QA. Sterling
documentation isn't much good if the product lacks something, because in
the end it's the product that's evaluated by the user.

Steve Shewchuk
Technical Writer

UWI Unisoft Wares Incorporated
Tel: (604)479-8334
email: sshewchu -at- mailhost -dot- uwi -dot- bc -dot- ca

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