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centralized vs. product-centered documentation departments (which is better?)
Subject:centralized vs. product-centered documentation departments (which is better?) From:Melanie Futrell <Melanie_Futrell/FASTTAX -at- CLR -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 8 May 1997 09:14:59 -0500
I am beginning a research study, and I thought I would start by tapping
this list for information first!
The topic that I am researching is:
For companies with more than one product or market, the contrast of
documentation quality (that's always a tough one to measure) produced in a
centralized documentation department that supports multiple products vs.
the quality of documentation produced in smaller documentation departments
that focus on a particular product.
What I am really interested in is the division of documentation
responsibilties by the product supported (in other words, I would support a
single product or suite of products by developing help, creating release
notes, writing getting started guides, etc.), as opposed to division of
documentation responsibilities by deliverable (in other words, I am an
online help developer, so I develop online help for all products, while,
Joe Smith, who works with me, is a printed documentation specialist, so he
does printed doc for all products).
I have some ideas, but I am interested in experiences that others have had.
So, does anyone have any war stories to share about successes/failures of
either/both configurations? Also, has anyone seen any research done on this
issue? And finally, does anyone have any ideas about how to measure the
documentation quality (that in itself is an issue) as it relates to this
subject? My immediate thought is usability testing, but unfortunately many
departments don't have the time or budget to do usability testing.
Please reply to me off the list (Melanie_Futrell -at- clr -dot- com), and if anyone is
interested, I'll summarize the results.
thanks in advance for your help!
Melanie Paschetag Futrell
Senior Documentation Analyst
Computer Language Reseach, Inc.
Melanie_Futrell -at- clr -dot- com