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Information Development in an Agile Environment
 

Information Development in an Agile Environment

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Information Development /Technical Writing / Technical Documentation in an Agile Environment

Information Development /Technical Writing / Technical Documentation in an Agile Environment

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    Information Development in an Agile Environment Information Development in an Agile Environment Presentation Transcript

    • Information Development in an Agile environment Neeraj Bhatia
      • Symantec Corporation
    • Agenda The transition to an Agile environment 1 Planning the transition 2 InfoDev considerations 3 What changed in the Agile model? 4 Lessons learnt 5
    • Agile Terminology Backlog Prioritized list of requirements User story Requirement formulated in the everyday business language of the user Feature breakdown Process of breaking down features/requirements into small estimable user stories Iteration/Sprint Single development cycle, usually measured in weeks Hardening iteration Iteration dedicated to eliminate technical debt, including bugs, integration testing, final QA, docs, etc. Scrum team Cross-functional team working on a set of user stories
    • Our Agile roadmap 2010 2009 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 * All numbers approximate
    • Why Agile?
      • Long development cycles, time to market considerations
      • Development delays, lack of predictability around release schedules
      • Quality issues: late engagement for QA and test teams
      • Inability to respond to changing marketplace
      • New products require constant adjustment in response to customer feedback
      • The theory that moving to an Agile environment will address these issues
    • Planning the transition Presentation Identifier Goes Here
    • Initial reactions “ No more feature freeze! We can now add features in the last iteration if we need to.” Product management “ No more FDDs!” Engineering “ No FDDs? Hold on … we probably need to discuss the process again.” QA, InfoDev “ Can’t we ship the product when Development is done? Do you really need the hardening iterations?”
    • Getting Started: Decisions, decisions
      • Iteration duration: Two weeks, three weeks, four weeks?
      • Entry and exit criteria: What do you mean when you say Done?
      • Tracking tool evaluation: VersionOne, Etrack, Accept360?
      • Team composition: Scrum teams, other teams?
      • Meeting frequency
      • End-of-iteration demos: Logistics, participation?
      • Training: Concepts and tools
    • Team Organization and Communication Team Charter Composition InfoDev representative Release Team Cross-functional team driving the release One representative from each functional group Lead/Manager Team of N Cross-functional team driving a theme or a feature set PM, TPM, Support, Dev, QA, Testing, InfoDev Lead writer for theme/feature set Scrum team Cross-functional team executing on a feature set Dev, QA, InfoDev Writer working on the feature set Release Team Team of N #3 Scrum Team 1 Scrum Team 2 Team of N #2 Scrum Team 3 Scrum Team 4
      • Repeated small bursts of software development cycles.
      • 3 week period
        • First 2 days to plan the ~2 weeks ahead.
        • Next ~2+ weeks of execution.
        • Last 2 days to meet exit criteria
      Anatomy of an iteration (Product A)
    • Information Development considerations
    • Information Development considerations
      • Reduce lag between development and documentation
      • Link feature completion to documentation completion
      • Complete documentation tasks within iteration
      • Author and review content in same iteration
      • Assess each user story for doc impact
      • Define entry and exit criteria for documentation
      • Use hardening iterations for end-to-end doc reviews and to finalize the content
    • InfoDev tasks during an iteration
    • Documentation review process
    • Authoring and review cycles Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Sprint n Sprint n+1
    • What changed in the Agile model?
    • What changed with Agile
      • Documentation approach
        • From “I first need to understand where this fits in the doc set.”
        • To “Let me write it as a standalone piece and get it reviewed. We will handle content placement later.”
      • Documentation reviews
        • From “Review pages 23, 347, and 460 of the 800 page guide.”
        • To “Review this two page chunk that describes your new command.”
      • Writer morale, relationship with Engineering
        • From “Engineering always provides info at the very last minute.”
        • To “What my scrum team is working on will impact your docs too”
      • Shift in accountability from InfoDev to the scrum team
        • From “We need these 1200 messages reviewed by InfoDev.”
        • To “How can we help in getting these 1200 messages reviewed?”
        • Of course, there were ups and downs
    • InfoDev Scorecard
      • Documentation more aligned with Development and QA schedules.
      • Less rework, less churn during final reviews.
      • More doc issues addressed during the release; less deferrals.
      • Better control on task and incident backlog throughout release.
      • Pulled in RTM by two weeks.
      * Product A data. All numbers approximate Metric X.0 Y.0 Number of incidents opened during final doc reviews 200 60 Doc review incidents as % of total doc incidents 33 20 Deferred doc incidents 50 0 Open incidents one month before RTM 200 40
    • What did we learn?
    • What did we learn?
      • Agile methods work, even in cross-site environments.
        • Requires some flexibility in terms of meeting times and frequency.
        • Centralized tracking tools and communication helps.
      • Choose your iteration. Some tasks are best done in the “next” iteration.
        • Prevents rework, especially for GUIs and wizards.
      • Plan for the hardening iterations.
        • Hardening iterations are important.
        • Development during hardening iterations can take away some benefits of the Agile methodology.
      • Choose your meetings.
        • Scrum meetings are important. Attending each meeting called by the scrum lead may not be a good use of writer time.
      • Manage your workload. Maintain a sustainable cadence.
    • What did we learn?
      • Linking development and documentation tasks is a key enabler.
        • Use tracking tools to create parent-child relationships between features and documentation. This helps shift accountability for doc tasks from writers to scrum teams.
        • Create tasks for documentation development, reviews, and integration.
      • A topic-based approach complements Agile development practices.
        • Task assignment by module/feature as against by book.
      • We may never get 100% Agile.
      • But Partially Agile is better than Completely Waterfall.
    • Neeraj Bhatia [email_address]