DITA Metrics Articles

When I was trying to figure out the best ways to measure the type of output that my group produces, I found most of what I needed online. Here are the sources I found helpful.

Useful Pre-DITA Era Articles on Metrics

Articles on how to take metrics for technical documentation groups were few and far between. The two I found that were still good, general guides are these:

Documentation Metrics: What Do You Really Want to Measure, by Donald S. Le Vie Jr.
An STC Intercom article by Donald S. Le Vie Jr. that provides a good overview of what types of tech doc production are worth measuring and which are not.

Practical and Effective Metrics, by Geoffrey J.S. Hart
Another STC Intercom article, this one looking at how to properly define what to measure. This one is designed to help managers determine goals which are measurable.

DITA Era Articles on Metrics
DITA Metrics: Cost Metrics, by Mark A. Lewis (look for the PDF link)
For years people (including myself) have talked at DITA conferences about ROI. Few have gone into much detail beyond that, which is why Mark Lewis’ series of articles on what to measure are great, especially if you are trying to put together an effective ROI argument for upper management.

What is the Best Metric to Measure the Success of Your Reuse of DITA Topics? by Bill Hackos
This article by Bill Hackos set me straight on how and what I should measure when trying to figure out reuse rates. Well worth the read.

The Illusive, Writing Productivity Metric: Making Unit Cost a Competitive Advantage, by Mike Eleder
A good CIDM article on how to measure the unit cost of producing a topic. I don’t fully agree with his methodology in the specifics for my case (there’s a difference between what is authored and what is published in a given timeframe, due to product release cycles). I also wish he had given some sample dollar values to compare against, but the approach he takes is sound.

If you know of any others, please add them in the comments section!


"DITAWriter" is Keith Schengili-Roberts. I work for IXIASOFT as a DITA Specialist/Information Architect. And I like to write about DITA and the technical writing community. To get ahold of me you can email me at: keith@ditawriter.com.

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