Most of the technical writers and technical communicators we know take pride in their work, and want quality to be a basic work ethic. But most of these same technical writers have significant pressure just to get the stuff out the door by set, too-short deadlines. So that begs the question, and thus this poll, about the kinds of quality control performed on technical communications content. Six Sigma, CMM or ISO-focused organizations may have thorough, and complete control processes for everything, including when to take your lunch break. Small companies with a lone technical writer doing double or triple duty, may be satisfied with a quick spellcheck.
We suspect that most of us in the technical communications field fall somewhere on curve between these two extremes. And, as more content goes digital in one form or another, we wonder whether the kind and level of quality control is changing. What do you do to test the quality of your technical communications content? Does testing extend to the delivery mechanisms? Do your defects get tracked formally? Or are you thrilled when some subject matter expert (SME) actually returns your perfectly crafted document with track changes turned on? Take this week’s technical writer poll, post a comment and start the discussion on how technical communications quality control is or should be managed today.