Maine based Oakhurst Dairy was recently sued by a handful of truck drivers seeking more than four years worth of overtime pay—but the suit wasn’t about milk distribution at all. Rather, the legal battle revolved around the use (or lack thereof) of a single comma. But grammar wasn’t the problem—standards were.
Here at Dozuki, we see a lot of technical documents. In all of this written work, we inevitably come across some mistakes. But hey, pobody’s nerfect. That said, when you see as many technical documents as we do, you start to notice trends. Trends in technical documents can be dangerous because they create systemic inefficiencies in your procedures and impact the overall quality of work.
To help you avoid these issues in your organization, we’ve compiled five common tech writing mistakes to avoid, based on our experiences helping companies create instructions.
For years, Patagonia has set a high standard for product lifespan with their Ironclad Guarantee and unparalleled customer service. They’ve been providing free repair services for garments that have been ripped, torn, or otherwise damaged since 1973.
In 2014 a nuclear Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, NM was the victim of poor revision control practices that lead to a half-billion dollar mistake; shutting down the facility for three years and sending six workers to the hospital.
That’s right, billion with a ‘B’.
While tragic, this accident presents an important opportunity to assess why good documentation practices matter and how we can proactively work to prevent similar mistakes in the future.