January 23, 2009

What's Your Bug to Writer Ratio?

Some stats on Microsoft's technical documentation for communication protocols:
1,660 identified bugs ... Nearly 800 Microsoft employees are working on the technical documentation ... More than 20,000 pages of technical documentation ...
That works out to:
  • 2.075 bugs per writer
  • 0.083 bugs per page
I don't know about you, but I think those are excellent ratios, even given the fuzzy numbers and imprecise information — e.g., "working on technical documentation" probably doesn't equate to "full-time technical writer". If MS dedicated an entire week to fixing these issues full-time, I bet they could resolve them all, or at least the vast majority of them. However, you just know that some of the bugs are really vague, like "Provide more information about x". Those take a long time to fix.

But the main point of the article is that MS isn't fixing documentation bugs quickly enough to satisfy the DoJ:
Lawyers for the [19 states suing Microsoft] have complained repeatedly that technical documentation issues, or TDIs, are opening faster than Microsoft can close them.
TDI?? ... That's all we need, another TLA.

Well, I'm just happy the DoJ isn't scrutinizing our docs like this :-)