RE: Tech Writing in Kanban

Subject: RE: Tech Writing in Kanban
From: Kat Kuvinka <katkuvinka -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2012 16:43:51 -0500

My experience with using Kanban for tech writing is different. Doc by its nature is hard to plan in Agile environments because many of the doc team tasks are by-demand in nature. In scrum, for example, developers might say we can only work on our planned Sprint tasks, but the writers get dumped on, frankly. So, it can be more useful to manage planned tasks and last-minute tasks together by using a Kanban board.

I think Rally is trying to respond to the need for doc and other functions, like operations and software builds, to use the tool along with the teams using Rally for sprint management. That being said, we were starting to use the Rally Kanban (some call it Scrum-ban) but I did not work there long enough to see it used successfully.


> On Thu, 26 Jan 2012 16:00:47 -0500, Porrello, Leonard
> <lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com> wrote:
> > I just read the Wikipedia page on Kanban and am now an expert (wink,
> > wink). How would you/do you use Kanban for doc tasks?
> From my jaundiced understanding of the American version of Just-In-Time
> and Kanban, the application in tech writing is to avoid writing the manual
> until someone is ready to read it. Instead of pushing the product into the
> area where it might be requested, Kanban tells us to let it be pulled by
> demand. I've worked for some outfits that wanted that... "We're shipping
> this product next month and need a manual for it. We're looking for
> someone who knows MS Word and is also familiar with our unreleased
> product."
> The idea of hiding the new product from the writing crew until too late is
> not new, and predates Kanban. "What do you mean, it will take you six
> weeks to change the manual? All we did is add two more items to the user
> interface. That's six lines of text. Cancel the printing job? Heck, if
> it's printing right now, you can use lprm. Don't you know your Unix shell
> commands? I don't see the problem."
> I need a pill for my jaundiced brain.
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


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