Re: Agile tech writing

Subject: Re: Agile tech writing
From: Wade Courtney <wade -dot- courtney -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Blount, Patricia A" <Patricia -dot- Blount -at- ca -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2010 10:23:04 -0700

Hi Patricia,

My company just started Agile too. I am the sole writer. I am on 3 scrums. I
go to design meetings, stakeholder demos, planning meetings, and daily
standups. I am never on sprint behind. Our sprints are 2 weeks long. I
maintain a cumulative set of release notes. I think we are planning 2
releases a year.

I'ts a little nerve racking at first getting used to all of the meetings,
but I find them useful and informative. Planning meetings are kind of hard,
especially when it comes to estimating complexity. You have to look a the
feature as a whole, instead of just your part. Not being a developer makes
this difficult sometime. I recommend that you get with the developer when he
is unit testing the feature, then you can use that to write from. There is
very little in the way of design docs, but I have found that I get better
docs this way than in the past.

Wade


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On Fri, Apr 9, 2010 at 6:11 AM, Blount, Patricia A
<Patricia -dot- Blount -at- ca -dot- com>wrote:

> 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.
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
> Use Doc-To-Help's XML-based editor, Microsoft Word, or HTML and
> produce desktop, Web, or print deliverables. Just write (or import)
> and Doc-To-Help does the rest. Free trial: http://www.doctohelp.com
>
> Explore CAREER options and paths related to Technical Writing,
> learn to create SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS documents, and
> get tips on FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATION best practices. Free at:
> http://www.ModernAnalyst.com
>
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Use Doc-To-Help's XML-based editor, Microsoft Word, or HTML and
produce desktop, Web, or print deliverables. Just write (or import)
and Doc-To-Help does the rest. Free trial: http://www.doctohelp.com

Explore CAREER options and paths related to Technical Writing,
learn to create SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS documents, and
get tips on FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATION best practices. Free at:
http://www.ModernAnalyst.com

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Agile tech writing: From: Blount, Patricia A

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