Producing Quality Documentation In An Agile Development Environment
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Producing Quality Documentation In An Agile Development Environment

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Producing Quality Documentation In An Agile Development Environment Producing Quality Documentation In An Agile Development Environment Presentation Transcript

  • Producing Quality Documentation in an Agile Development Environment Christine Marini Sigman Principal Technical Writer Endeca Technologies
  • About this session Agile overview – Why Agile methodologies arose and why many developers love them About Scrum – Scrum vocabulary and artifacts – A month in the life of a Scrum team Scrum and documentation – Scrum and the individual writer – The role of the doc manager and doc team in Scrum – Biggest challenges with Scrum – Greatest advantages to Scrum – Additional resources – Questions and answers Copyright©2008 Endeca Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Proprietary and confidential.
  • Agile Overview Agile software development refers to a group of software development methodologies that are based on similar principles. Agile methodologies generally promote: – A project management process that encourages frequent inspection and adaptation. – A leadership philosophy that encourages team work, self- organization and accountability. – A set of engineering best practices that allow for rapid delivery of high-quality software. – A business approach that aligns development with customer needs and company goals. Wikipedia Copyright©2008 Endeca Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Proprietary and confidential.
  • About Scrum Scrum is one of the Agile methodologies. The name refers to a rugby scrum, in which the whole team together moves the ball toward the goal. Copyright©2008 Endeca Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Proprietary and confidential.
  • Scrum is Iterative Plan (based on product Develop backlog) Present and Review Copyright©2008 Endeca Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Proprietary and confidential.
  • Scrum participants The product owner represents the customer and brings stories from the backlog to the team. The scrum master serves as project manager and obstacle remover. This person interacts on a regular basis with his or her counterparts outside the team. The cross-functional team consists of five to nine people who do the actual work. A team typically includes some mixture of the following: – Software developers – Architects – UI designers – QA engineers – Technical writers In most cases, this team will work together over several months. Copyright©2008 Endeca Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Proprietary and confidential.
  • Scrum artifacts Scrum relies on the following artifacts: The product backlog of high-level stories. In a product software environment, this may be unified across several teams. The sprint backlog of stories selected by one team for an iteration. Burndown charts that graphically expose the team’s progress on a daily basis. Scrum relies on the following meetings: The daily standup (or scrum), where team members check in and report status A monthly planning session, where the team reviews stories with the product owner and commits to completing a certain amount of work. A monthly retrospective, in which the team critiques its own processes. A monthly review, where the team presents the month’s work. Copyright©2008 Endeca Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Proprietary and confidential.
  • Copyright©2008 Endeca Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Proprietary and confidential.
  • Copyright©2008 Endeca Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Proprietary and confidential.
  • What’s different about Scrum, besides the lingo? Shorter release cycles Much more visibility, in every direction More autonomy (and more self-management required) Fewer traditional software artifacts, such as design documents and functional specs Within a few iterations, much more productive software developers Often, much greater focus on a smaller piece of the product Copyright©2008 Endeca Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Proprietary and confidential.
  • The role of documentation in Scrum Agile methodologies are not as “anti-documentation” as we sometimes hear (or fear), but it takes planning and advocacy not to feel like an afterthought. When reading up on Scrum theory and methodology, keep in mind that the term “documentation” frequently refers to internal documents such as specifications, design documents, meeting notes, even code comments—and not to product documentation. Copyright©2008 Endeca Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Proprietary and confidential.
  • The writer and the team In Scrum, team orientation is essential! That means: Sitting with your team if you can Attending all Scrum meetings Coming up with new ways to get information Being interested in everyone’s work, even if it doesn’t affect the documentation Communicating your own tasks and needs clearly Sharing your status Helping out on non-doc tasks, time permitting Copyright©2008 Endeca Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Proprietary and confidential.
  • The writer and self-management In Scrum, you’ll typically be required to: Extract tasks from requirements Accurately estimate how long it will take you to complete these tasks Prioritize among tasks Publicly track your progress, communicate status, and point out any obstacles to success Advocate for what you need from the team Negotiate the notion of “doc completeness” for each iteration Copyright©2008 Endeca Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Proprietary and confidential.
  • Scrum dos and don’ts for doc managers DO: 7. Learn to hire “Scrum wise.” 1. Hammer out mutually-acceptable 8. Let writers determine their own definitions for things like “iteration as estimates. release” and “doc completeness” so 9. Express your own team’s work in each of your team members doesn’t terms of Scrum. have to fight that battle for himself or DON’T: herself. 10. Expect “guest” writers to take on 2. Negotiate with Scrum team significant work on others’ teams management so the writers’ role without ramp up. becomes consistent across teams in your organization. 11. Forget the big picture—in Scrum, doc can become the voice of reason for 3. Learn from writers who integrate things like integration. successfully on to their teams, and propagate their practices onto less 12. Take all the meetings yourself (unless successful team matchups. you are doing all of the associated writing). 4. Rotate writers on “difficult” teams. Give everyone a chance to be 13. Overburden individual writers with too successful. many team memberships. 5. Keep control of your own people! 6. Keep control of your own processes! Copyright©2008 Endeca Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Proprietary and confidential.
  • Scrum and the documentation team Bridge knowledge gaps Learn new strategies for dealing with Scrum Share/rotate workload Handle centralized tasks such as editorial, production, and localization/internationalization services Copyright©2008 Endeca Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Proprietary and confidential.
  • Things to watch out for Membership on too many teams Teams that are too large to be effective Rigid attitudes from Scrum dogmatists and theologians Inconsistent definitions of scrum terms Uneven flow of work across iteration Conflict between iteration schedules and release schedules Distraction or diversion from your primary role as technical communicator Copyright©2008 Endeca Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Proprietary and confidential.
  • What you can gain from Scrum Team integration and support Increased autonomy Increased visibility Improved workflow Opportunities to grow in (or beyond) your current role Better chance of working with happy SMEs Better chance of working for a successful company Copyright©2008 Endeca Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Proprietary and confidential.
  • Additional resources The Scrum Development Yahoo group (scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com) The Scrum Alliance (www.scrumalliance.org) Cohn, Mike. User Stories Applied for Agile Software Development. Boston: Pearson Education, 2004. Schwaber, Ken, and Mike Beedle. Agile Software Development with Scrum. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002. Schwaber, Ken. Agile Project Management with Scrum. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Press, 2004. Nuckols, Carl, and Jeff Canna. “eXtreme Documentation,” Intercom, February 2003 Sigman, Christine. “Adapting to Scrum: Challenges and Strategies,” Intercom, July/August 2007 Copyright©2008 Endeca Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Proprietary and confidential.