Technical Writing in an Agile
Development Environment
A Writer’s Perspective
2
Objectives
 Learn to apply useful principles from agile
methodologies
 Highlight the features common to agile
developm...
3
The Agile Parable
A pig and a chicken are walking down a road. The
chicken looks at the pig and says, "Hey, why
don't we...
4
Who’s Who in Agile
5
Scrum Origins
 The new product development game - Tekeuchi
and Nonaka
 A group of 17 individuals got together in
Color...
6
The Agile Manifesto
Over
7
Phases of Scrum– From Concept to
Execution
8
The Scrum Development Process
Daily Scrum
•Hosted by ScrumMaster
•Attended by all, but Stakeholders
don’t speak
•Same ti...
9
Agile System Development Lifecycle
10
Overlapping Development in Scrum
11
Waterfall vs. Agile
12
Making the Transition
 How can I adapt myself to Scrum?
13
Design Documents
 Moving from specs to user story documents
 Shorter, more fluid documents
 Allows for easier refine...
14
User Stories- What is it?
 A software system requirement
 Defines what is to be built
 Prioritized, make up the back...
15
User Stories
As a … < role> …
I want … <short description of feature> …
So that … <value or why need functionality>
…
E...
16
Acceptance Criteria
A common acceptance criteria
template:
Given … <some initial context > …
When … <an event occurs> …...
17
Topic-Oriented Writing
18
Topic-Oriented Writing
 Authoring concise, self-contained units of
information about a specific topic
 Concept
 Task...
19
Using Minimalism
 Choose an action-oriented approach to your
documentation
 Promote learning by doing rather than by
...
20
Benefits of Using Minimalism
 Pushes us to be more user-focused
 Makes us look out for redundant information
 Drives...
21
Collaborate
 Use a collaboration tool (e.g. wiki)
 Attend daily scrum meetings
 Be detailed and specific when you ar...
22
Using Wikis
Image Copyright @ Atlassian
23
Best Practices for Wiki Implementation
24
Using Wikis as an Input for Docs
25
Backlog is Your Friend
 The Backlog in Scrum is the Technical Writer’s
best friend.
 Work with the dev team to unders...
26
Document Reviews in Scrum
 Use drafts
 Write doc for a feature that is developed and
tested in the Sprint
 Have Dev/...
27
Before the Release
 Have a stabilization sprint for
the document cleanups,
versioning, and help
integration.
28
Vertical Doc Team Structure – Writer
Aligned to the Scrum Teams
Write
r
Product ABC Product XYZ Released products Legac...
29
Scrum in Action
30
The Benefits of Writing in an Agile
Environment
Questions?
32
Sources and Bibliography
 Agile Estimating and Planning, Mike Cohn, Prentice Hall, 2006.
 Agile Project Management wi...
Thank You
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Technical writing in an agile development environment

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The presentation helps you apply useful principles from agile methodologies for developing technical documentation. It also highlights the features common to agile development processes and helps you understand user stories and learn to translate user stories into task-oriented topics. You also learn to use various collaboration tools that can facilitate writing.

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  • A group of 17 individuals got together in Colorado in 2001to form the manifesto. This outlines that while there is value on the right, we value the items on the left more.
  • Technical writing in an agile development environment

    1. 1. Technical Writing in an Agile Development Environment A Writer’s Perspective
    2. 2. 2 Objectives  Learn to apply useful principles from agile methodologies  Highlight the features common to agile development processes  Understand user stories and learn to translate user stories into task-oriented topics  Learn to use various collaboration tools that can facilitate writing  Learn to be adaptive
    3. 3. 3 The Agile Parable A pig and a chicken are walking down a road. The chicken looks at the pig and says, "Hey, why don't we open a restaurant?" The pig looks back at the chicken and says, "Good idea, what do you want to call it?" The chicken thinks about it and says, "Why don't we call it 'Ham and Eggs'?" "I don't think so," says the pig, "I'd be committed but you'd only be involved.”
    4. 4. 4 Who’s Who in Agile
    5. 5. 5 Scrum Origins  The new product development game - Tekeuchi and Nonaka  A group of 17 individuals got together in Colorado in 2001 to form the Agile manifesto.  Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber  Initial definitions of Scrum at OOPSLA 96  Not just for trivial projects  FDA-approved, life-critical software for x-rays and MRIs
    6. 6. 6 The Agile Manifesto Over
    7. 7. 7 Phases of Scrum– From Concept to Execution
    8. 8. 8 The Scrum Development Process Daily Scrum •Hosted by ScrumMaster •Attended by all, but Stakeholders don’t speak •Same time every day •Answer: 1) What did you do yesterday? 2) What will you do today? 3) What’s in your way? •Team updates Sprint Backlog; Scrum Master updates Blocks List POPO Product Owner: Sets priorities SMSM ScrumMaster: Manages process, removes blocks TT Team (Pigs): Develops product SHSH Stakeholders (Chickens): observe & advise Key Artifacts Product Backlog •List of requirements & issues •Owned by Product Owner •Anybody can add to it •Only Product Owner prioritizes Product Backlog •List of requirements & issues •Owned by Product Owner •Anybody can add to it •Only Product Owner prioritizes Sprint Goal •One-sentence summary •Declared by Product Owner •Accepted by team Sprint Goal •One-sentence summary •Declared by Product Owner •Accepted by team Sprint Backlog •List of tasks •Owned by team •Only team modifies it Sprint Backlog •List of tasks •Owned by team •Only team modifies it Blocks List •List of blocks & unmade decisions •Owned by ScrumMaster •Updated daily Blocks List •List of blocks & unmade decisions •Owned by ScrumMaster •Updated daily Increment •Version of the product •Shippable functionality (tested, documented, etc.) Increment •Version of the product •Shippable functionality (tested, documented, etc.) Key Meetings Sprint Planning Meeting •Hosted by ScrumMaster; ½-1 day •In: Product Backlog, existing product, business & technology conditions 1. Select highest priority items in Product Backlog; declare Sprint Goal 2. Team turns selected items into Sprint Backlog Out:: Sprint Goal, Sprint Backlog Sprint Review Meeting •Hosted by ScrumMaster •Attended by all •Informal, 4-hour, informational •Team demos Increment •All discuss •Hold retrospective •Announce next Sprint Planning Meeting Product Backlog Product Backlog Development Process IncrementIncrement Sprint Planning Meeting Daily Scrum Daily Work Sprint Goal Sprint Goal Sprint Backlog Sprint Backlog Blocks List Blocks List ProductProduct Sprint Review Meeting Sprint: 15-30 days each Product Backlog’ Product Backlog’ Increment’Increment’ Copyright 2004, William C. Wake, William.Wake@acm.org, www.xp123.com
    9. 9. 9 Agile System Development Lifecycle
    10. 10. 10 Overlapping Development in Scrum
    11. 11. 11 Waterfall vs. Agile
    12. 12. 12 Making the Transition  How can I adapt myself to Scrum?
    13. 13. 13 Design Documents  Moving from specs to user story documents  Shorter, more fluid documents  Allows for easier refinement and rework upon customer feedback  Helps the writers to not get bogged down in lengthy specs
    14. 14. 14 User Stories- What is it?  A software system requirement  Defines what is to be built  Prioritized, make up the backlog  Stories may be related together as “features” or “themes”
    15. 15. 15 User Stories As a … < role> … I want … <short description of feature> … So that … <value or why need functionality> … Examples:  As a sales manager I want to view the sales report so that I can know the sales for this quarter.  As a regular traveler I want my cell-phone to wake me up at a set time so that I do not need to pack an alarm clock.
    16. 16. 16 Acceptance Criteria A common acceptance criteria template: Given … <some initial context > … When … <an event occurs> … Then … <ensure some outcomes> … Given my cell-phone is switched off when the time for my alarm is reached then turn the cell-phone on and sound the alarm.
    17. 17. 17 Topic-Oriented Writing
    18. 18. 18 Topic-Oriented Writing  Authoring concise, self-contained units of information about a specific topic  Concept  Task  Reference
    19. 19. 19 Using Minimalism  Choose an action-oriented approach to your documentation  Promote learning by doing rather than by reading  Evaluate what to trim and why (‘Just enough’ documentation)  Focus on troubleshooting advice  Identify opportunities to replace text with graphics
    20. 20. 20 Benefits of Using Minimalism  Pushes us to be more user-focused  Makes us look out for redundant information  Drives us to cut costs while delivering better information  Portrays us like we understood our role better
    21. 21. 21 Collaborate  Use a collaboration tool (e.g. wiki)  Attend daily scrum meetings  Be detailed and specific when you are seeking information
    22. 22. 22 Using Wikis Image Copyright @ Atlassian
    23. 23. 23 Best Practices for Wiki Implementation
    24. 24. 24 Using Wikis as an Input for Docs
    25. 25. 25 Backlog is Your Friend  The Backlog in Scrum is the Technical Writer’s best friend.  Work with the dev team to understand the tasks  You can re-plan a Sprint in the mid-Sprint  Allocate some time in the Sprint for maintenance and patches.  Backlog is NOT DONE if the end-user documentation is not complete
    26. 26. 26 Document Reviews in Scrum  Use drafts  Write doc for a feature that is developed and tested in the Sprint  Have Dev/QA review the doc for technical accuracy before closing the user story  Make the required edits  Publish IT  Present the doc to the PO in the exit meeting
    27. 27. 27 Before the Release  Have a stabilization sprint for the document cleanups, versioning, and help integration.
    28. 28. 28 Vertical Doc Team Structure – Writer Aligned to the Scrum Teams Write r Product ABC Product XYZ Released products Legacy Product s Feature A Feature B Feature A Feature B Feature A Feature B Bugs/ Minor Fixes Patche s Life Support Steve Maria Marc
    29. 29. 29 Scrum in Action
    30. 30. 30 The Benefits of Writing in an Agile Environment
    31. 31. Questions?
    32. 32. 32 Sources and Bibliography  Agile Estimating and Planning, Mike Cohn, Prentice Hall, 2006.  Agile Project Management with Scrum, Ken Schwaber, Microsoft Press, 2004.  Writing Effective Use Cases, Alistair Cockburn, Addison Wesley, 2001.  Agile Development: Challenges in Transforming Technical Communications Departments, Mike Wethington.  “An Overview of Scrum”, Mike Cohn, http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/presentation/30-an-overview-of-scrum , 2008  “Writing End-User Documentation in an Agile Development Environment,” Anne Gentle & Tana Berry, http://justwriteclick.com/2007/07/02/writing-end-user-documentation-in-an-agile-de , 2007.
    33. 33. Thank You
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