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Estimating the Cost of High-quality Documentation

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Documentation is a substantial part of a software product. The cost of developing a typical end user document at Cadence Design Systems (a 300-page reference or user manual or the online equivalent) is about $40,000. The cost of not providing complete and completely accurate documentation can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Investing more pre-sales dollars in timely, accurate, and complete documentation may significantly reduce the total cost of customer support. The savings would come from users having highly usable documentation rather than interrupting a colleague or needing one-on-one support from Cadence application engineers.In this report, we show how judiciously increasing necessary investment costs can significantly reduce the avoidable costs of supporting customers and, thereby, reduce the total costs to the company and to customers. We provide explicit examples of how to estimate necessary investment costs and avoidable support calls.
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Document Type: Introduction

Publication date: February 1, 1995

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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