RE: User Documentation in Agile Development Teams

Subject: RE: User Documentation in Agile Development Teams
From: <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com>
To: "'Sue McKinney'" <smckinn2001 -at- gmail -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2017 11:33:36 -0400

Arguing for standards in an agile shop may not get you very far. Agile is
very much about the old way of doing things being broken (which it is) so
why would people think that standards associated with the old way of doing
things would have any validity?

What can sometimes persuade people in this environment is science.
Specifically, the science that explains why stuff we think is intuitive
often is not. It is a cognitive bias called the Curse of Knowledge. The
Wikipedia article is a decent place to start:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_of_knowledge

To convince the business types, look for a Harvard Business Review article
by Chip and Dan Heath that discusses the Curse of Knowledge (sorry, don't
have the exact reference to hand).

Mark

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+mbaker=analecta -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+mbaker=analecta -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
Of Sue McKinney
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2017 10:40 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: User Documentation in Agile Development Teams

Hello!

I am a long-time tech writer very familiar with Waterfall development and am
now getting familiar with Agile. I understand the idea behind lean
documentation for what I call "back-end" documentation (e.g., requirements,
user stories, design) but am trying to learn more about getting end user
documentation into the development cycle. It's tough, given the frequent
releases, and I now am faced with push-back from managers and developers
claiming that documentation is way less important in Agile. In fact, it's
just as important! Even though the software is supposed to "intuitive,"
we're finding out that users want assistance; we're in the middle of
creating online help for a second release of something that was deemed
intuitive enough to not require online help for the first release. And then,
of course, users complained about not know how to get their work done. I'm
looking for ways to identify best practices for user documentation (online
help, user guides) to present to management so that the new writer alone on
a project has more credibility when he or she argues in favor of, say,
online help.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
Sue McKinney
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Follow-Ups:

References:
User Documentation in Agile Development Teams: From: Sue McKinney

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