DITA Metrics 101 - Metrics - Chapter 8, DITA Metrics 101 Structured Authoring Metrics 77

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  • Cover

  •  2012, The Rockley Group Inc. and Mark Lewis. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of credited brief quotations embedded in articles, reviews and presentations.

    ISBN 978‐0‐9865233‐4‐2

    For information, contact:

    The Rockley Group Inc., Email: moreinfo@rockley.com Website: www.rockley.com


  • Structured Authoring Metrics

    Structured Authoring MetricsHow do we measure the ROI of structured authoring? What

    metrics and cost models can we create for it? This section focuses on metrics for the cost of development, review, and maintenance. When authoring is structured and content can be reused, savings occur in all phases of the content develop- ment lifecycle (CDLC) and the cost of authoring and editing is reduced. Taking advantage of content reuse allows reviewers to spend more time doing their “real” job, which usually involves generating revenue for the company. These savings also cascade into the translation process. We discuss this con- cept in detail in “Translation Metrics 102”.

    In this chapter we:

     Design a cost model for a structured authoring process without reuse

     Design a cost model for a structured authoring process with reuse

     Compare the cost models and determine the savings with reuse

     Explore the savings of eliminating formatting  Explore the savings in the content maintenance lifecycle

    (CMLC) The metrics in this cost model represent the cost of a topic in the structured authoring process and incorporate some of the topic-based metrics we've developed in other chapters. In addi- tion, these metrics apply to both systematic and opportunistic reuse. To simplify the model, we are not taking into account the difference in wages that each role receives and assume that the cost of each labor hour is equal. When you customize the model for your own purposes, you can incorporate com- plexity or weighting factors for each role type to better approx- imate real wage levels in your organization.

    If we take a sneak peek at the savings trend from the end of this chapter, we see that in a structured authoring process with content reuse, the cost to create a topic decreases propor- tionally as the percent reuse increases. This is true for most tasks in this process; content creation by the author, content review by the technical reviewer, and content proofing by the editor. The technical reviewer is usually a subject matter expert (SME) and if they are highly paid then some of the greatest savings can occur when their review time is reduced.

    DITA Metrics 101 Structured Authoring Metrics 75

  • Figure 72: Savings trend

    How do we determine the savings shown in Figure 72? Let’s start by looking at a CDLC in which an author creates a topic. Then, a technical reviewer reviews the topic for technical accu- racy. Finally, an editor proofs the topic for readability, and consistency, and brings down the grammar hammer. Figure 73 shows the lifecycle. Your situation may be different, but you can customize the model to represent your authoring pro- cess.

    76 Structured Authoring Metrics DITA Metrics 101

  • Figure 73: CDLC without reuse

    This cost model is simplified in that it does not include a sepa- rate cost formatting or for question-and-answer discussions between the author and reviewers. This model assumes that authors, reviewers, and editors work on the same document so the author does not have to transfer edits and changes from the reviewer's copy of the document to the final version of the document.

    Figure 74 shows the cost of a topic without reuse in this lifecy- cle.

    DITA Metrics 101 Structured Authoring Metrics 77

  • Figure 74: Cost of topic without reuse

    The values are:

     Cost to create new content = cost of the basic Adding a Cal- endar Event topic = 4.45 hours from Figure 15

    The calculation is:

     Total cost of topic without reuse = (cost to create new con- tent) + (cost to review new content) + (cost to edit new con- tent) = 4.45 hours + 0.75 hours + 0.33 hours = 5.53 hours per topic

    See spreadsheet, “Structured_Authoring.”

    Figure 75 shows the structured authoring process with reuse. The author creates a topic, but whenever possible the author finds reusable content that has already been created and inserts that content into the topic. An SME reviews the topic for technical accuracy. We reduce the amount of new content that must be reviewed by 25%. If you feel this reduces the technical review time too much and instead should be higher because the technical reviewer has to review the topic as a whole to ensure it's accurate, then I recommend increasing the technical reviewer contextual review time to compensate. This can apply to the editor contextual review time as well. The technical reviewer does not have to review the reusable content for accuracy, but does have to determine if it is appli- cable and technically correct to use within the context of the

    78 Structured Authoring Metrics DITA Metrics 101

  • DITA Metrics 101 Structured Authoring Metrics 79

    topic. Similarly, the editor proofs the topic, but does not have to proof the reusable content. Instead the editor only performs a review of the reusable content for readability, and consis- tency within the context of the topic.

    Figure 75: CDLC with reuse

    Introduction Benefits Who should read this book At what level is this book written How this book came to be Before you start How to use this book Quick Path 1 Quick Path 2 Stand-alone chapters Workshop Path Customizing the models Specialization Other XML schemas

    Sample use case Filtering and reuse

    Topic Metrics 101 Project Metrics 101 Translation Metrics 101 Translation savings from reuse Calculating translation hours Cost of translation Translation dollars and multiple languages

    Topic Metrics 102 Project Metrics 102 Project using detailed topic models Writing for reuse and identical topics Project using identical topics Complex topics

    Content reuse (referencing) Use case example Using warehouse topics Warehouse topic cost model Advanced warehouse techniques

    Project using warehouse topics Savings using warehouse topics Cost per product using warehouse strategy Cost per product using unique topics Savings trend

    Cost of translating warehouse and referencing topics Component based translation Conclusion

    Content filtering Use case example Using master topics Master topic cost model Project using master topics Savings using master topics Cost per product using master topics Cost per product using unique topics Savings trend

    Structured Authoring Metrics As percent reuse increases… Cost of formatting Cost of maintenance Reusable content maintenance Cost without reuse Cost of reusable content maintenance Cost of topic review

    Topic maintenance


    Translation Metrics 102 Translation costs Rule-of-thumb numbers

    Translation without reuse Factors that affect translation speed Translation with reuse As percent reuse increases…

    Cost of desktop publishing Content references (conref) Reduced pattern matching Referenced content missing from translator's view


    Production Metrics: Tracking Actuals Executive Questions Sample questions Conclusion

    Manager Questions Content Creation Sample questions

    Content Maintenance Sample questions

    Definitions and ideas Similar Views and levels Reuse rate Publication-level Topic-level Component-level

    Images Sample questions and calculations Conclusion

    Share your metrics


    Conclusion Summary: The benefits of DITA based on metrics Proving the savings Customizing the models Proving the benefits

    Supporting the business plan Corporate goals, content strategy, and content reuse Reduced development cost Reuse content Eliminate formatting costs Eliminate desktop publishing costs

    Reduced translation cost Reduced time to market Topic level Project level Reduced time to market for translated products

    More products, more formats Information value Quality Process improvement and automation Call centers: faster, better, and cheaper Call center resources Response and handle time Volume of calls Summary

    Final word

    Glossary A B C D E F G I J L M P Q R S T W X