DocTrain West 2009: Mark Lewis on “DITA Metrics: Cost Metrics”

Mark Lewis‘s session presented metrics with which you can show ROI for DITA by reusing identical and similar topics. See Lewis’ White Paper here on the Content Wrangler for details.

An engaged discussion ensued which shows the interest in tangible metrics:

  • There was no immediate answer about the total cost of ownership for converting to and maintaining DITA. But the burden of proof in terms of TCO shouldn’t rest with the documentation team – which most likely doesn’t have all the numbers for it, anyway. Instead, the team can try to figure what management is willing to spend money for and try to tap into that.
  • If you have a diverse team where some writers are faster than others, you can either use a mean topic development time (instead of the average; see the comment wall of the DITA Metrics group in the Content Wrangler ning network). Or you can use normalized sizes and assign each writer a factor to define how long he needs to complete one of those development sizes.