Agile tech writing

Subject: Agile tech writing
From: "Blount, Patricia A" <Patricia -dot- Blount -at- ca -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2010 09:11:37 -0400

Good morning, all,

I learned last week in strategy conference that my company plans to
adopt an agile development process. For us, that means switching from an
annual software release cycle to a monthly one. I've devoted a good deal
of time since then to researching agile methods, trying to learn how
tech writing fits into such a process. (Tom Johnson, Sarah Maddox and
Anne Gentle all have incredibly detailed blog entries on this topic. I
began my research there.)

So far, I know we'll be focusing on just a few tasks per sprint. So it's
probably less writing than we're used to. But it has to fit into a much
smaller schedule, so I'm sure there's still a mad scramble to get it all
done.

I've got a few concerns... chief among them: Does tech writing fall off
the radar in such environments? Rumor hear has it that tech writing will
lag a sprint behind development. I think that's a bad idea because we
typically do more than 'write'. We review GUI screens for grammar and
sense, we suggest design improvements when instructions feel clunky, we
can test as we write, so if we lag a sprint behind, those problems won't
be fixed immediately (and isn't that the goal of agile?)

Does anybody have agile tech writing experience? Could you share a
little of what the typical sprint feels like?

Thanks,
Patty B.
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