Beyond metrics: Using maturity models to develop a docs strategy




How do you measure the impact of your work? What’s the best way to communicate its value to others in your organization? What metrics should you use? Does information about page views and up or down votes actually lead to better docs? These are perennial questions for technical writers building a docs strategy.

At the Wikimedia Foundation, we use maturity models to guide our docs development and to track our progress over time. Maturity models are flexible frameworks that help us to gain a more honest and holistic understanding of our work and its impact than we can with traditional metrics alone. They allow us to decouple our definition of success from abstract numbers. Instead of telling us how far or how fast we are going, maturity models allow us to see where we have been, where we are, and where we are headed. They give us clarity about what we’re doing well and what we need to improve.

In this talk, I’ll explore:

Some metrics technical writers use to measure the impact of their work and why they fall short What maturity models are and how they can provide a holistic view of your docs strategy and its impact

I’ll also demonstrate how we use maturity models in the Wikimedia Foundation’s technical department to stay oriented and to guide our focus.

  • Conference: Write the Docs Portland
  • Year: 2021

About the speaker

Sarah R. Rodlund