Value added by technical documentation

Subject: Value added by technical documentation
From: Jay Mead <jlmead -at- OURAY -dot- CUDENVER -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 1997 19:39:59 -0700


A few months back I posted a query to the list about measuring the value
added by documentation to an organization's bottom line, for a
Master's thesis I'm working on. I got several very interesting responses
from some of you, but a couple of crises intervened and I had to put off
the project. Now it's time to finish, so I would like to put my question
to you all once more:

We know the quality technical communication we produce adds value to an
organization, but how can we measure it, in terms management
will understand? Have any of you developed ways of calculating the
dollars-and-cents value of your technical documentation? Ways that can be
replicated and used across organizations?

Ideally, I'll find more than anecdotal evidence (though this is important
as well); I'd like to collect ways that hard numbers can be calculated.

I am aware of the important work being carried on by Redish and Ramey
about this (particularly their 1995 Tech Comm article on the subject), and
have been in touch with Ginny Redish. I have also been in touch with
several of you, and am following up on some of your suggestions. Many
thanks! Thanks also to the list for indulging a second request for

I hope this work can be helpful to all of us who want to show our value to
our employers in terms that managers understand and respect. I will be
happy to share results with anyone, or with the list generally if there is
interest. If you have a study or other information to share, or would
like to discuss this, reply to me. Of course, a list discussion of this
topic is ALWAYS interesting!

Jay Mead
Galileo International
jay -dot- mead -at- den -dot- galileo -dot- com

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