Metrics used to evaluate Technical Writing/Publications

Subject: Metrics used to evaluate Technical Writing/Publications
From: "Jelus, Susan C." <susan -dot- jelus -at- thermofisher -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 10 Sep 2015 20:38:46 +0000

Hi Everyone,
Technical Writing is part of the Research and Development department at my company. My manager, the Director, wants me to set up some ways to measure the effectiveness of the tech writing function. He says this will help us identify problem areas. Other functions, such as Engineering and Operations, measure things like turn-around time, on-time delivery, and number of backorders.

I'm hard-pressed to find something easily measureable for tech writing. We produce mostly documents that are more than 100 pages, such as user manuals, and we usually do it over a 3-6 month time period. Of course, we have dependencies on Engineering and other SMEs, who all have major priorities in other areas.

I've thought of measuring things like on time responses to requests for information or reviews, errors reported in publications, change requests received/implemented, product development changes requiring documentation rework... But it seems like it will be difficult to track and evaluate many of these items.

Do any of you out there use metrics? If so, what are you measuring and how is it working?

Thanks for your help.

Susan Jelus
Thermo Fisher Scientific
Logan, Utah
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