Re: Writing the User Docs first?

Subject: Re: Writing the User Docs first?
From: Beth Agnew <beth -dot- agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: 'Techwr-l' <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 04 Dec 2007 11:13:49 -0500

To me, that was always the best thing about XP (Agile) -- the emphasis
on user stories. Sounds like your dev team has simply decided that
you'll write them instead of doing it themselves and handing them over
to you. That's not a bad thing. Anything that brings TWs and Devs closer
has got to be good, right? I've done the same thing -- used use cases
(UML) and user stories (XP) to get an early complete draft of the
documentation as a framework for further work. As the product got
fleshed out, so did the docs. It was a very beneficial partnership. The
docs then function almost as well-written specifications, meaning many
user problems are identified and solved at the paper stage instead of
the code or QA stage. You're not barking mad -- you're working in an
environment that most TWs pray for. Enjoy!

Gordon McLean wrote:
> Note: I work in a Dev team that uses the XP (Agile) development methodology.
> Given that, in XP, there is a focus on little to no documentation during the
> design/build of the software, I've been pondering how the Publications team
> can fill that gap, namely by writing as complete a draft as early as
> possible and getting buy-in from the Dev team that they'll use the user docs
> whilst developing the software.
> Sound odd? Yeah it might.
> We sit in on early design discussions and at that point we can start to
> capture the whys and whats, fleshing out the main concepts and viewing each
> story (the large chunk of work the Dev team work on) from the point of view
> of the user. Once those stories are futher broken down into smaller chunks
> of work, we too will have a better idea of what is involved and can update
> the documentation accordingly.
> It will mean working closely with development, but we do that already, and
> hopefully this will provide the (currently missing) big picture information
> and view.
> Am I barking mad? Anyone working in XP (or any other Agile environment) care
> to chip in? Are our processes broken?

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Writing the User Docs first?: From: Gordon McLean

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