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MEWT 3 - Testing, Support and Documentation

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For years I’ve been performing a mixed role, managing not only Testing but also Technical Support and Documentation for a data product company. These three disciplines – whilst distinct, for me have one strong connection and that is a focus the customer. This might be through communicating with customers directly, or by representing the customer interests within the development process. In this experience report I’ll examine and compare the different means of communicating information, both to and from the customer, that exist across these connected teams. I’ll look at the differences in information sources, media and interfaces involved between each role and the customer, and how these differences present distinct challenges for each role. From looking at examples from my experience I hope to explore the following key points:- – What principles of good communication apply when working in technical documentation and technical support
– What anti-patterns in communication I have experienced when working in these other disciplines
– If there are any lessons that we might take from these to apply in our testing work
– The different information that is readily available to each discipline that we might look to share between teams for mutual benefit

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MEWT 3 - Testing, Support and Documentation

  1. 1. Testing, Support and DocumentationAdamKnight Twitter:@adampknight Blog:www.a-sisyphean-task.com https://www.flickr.com/photos/gru4el/6527380785 Lessons learned from a combined role
  2. 2. Technical Documentation http://gimp-savvy.com/cgi-bin/img.cgi?noabJ8aA54rDR9Y5101
  3. 3. Methods of Doc Communication  Word  Search  PDF  Help  Print  Web https://www.flickr.com/photos/shordzi/86720903 56
  4. 4. Principles of Docs Communication  Help to achieve a task Power of Four  Searchability  Every Page is Page One Single Sourcing https://www.flickr.com/photos/shordzi/86720903 56
  5. 5. Lessons of Docs Communication  Not a substitute for bad design  Repetition and boilerplate dilutes the message  Discrete, consistent terminology
  6. 6. Support http://gimp-savvy.com/cgi-bin/img.cgi?noaaALS5rstdqzs7083
  7. 7. Methods of Support Communication  Direct  Phone  Kayako response  Non-SLA Mail  Release Notice  KBAs  Indirect  Internal Mail transfer  Internal Conversation transfer  Changing Ticket Status  Reports  CC on Ticket  Absence of Contact
  8. 8. Principles of Support Communication  Consistent but not canned  Explain everything  Be a guide on our software  Know each customer
  9. 9. Lessons of Support Communication  Speed without relevance wastes time  Make message small enough to digest  Misrepresenting urgency undermines credibility  If you are not 100%, don’t say it  Metrics without context are dangerous
  10. 10. References Great Documentation Blogs • http://everypageispageone.com • https://ffeathers.wordpress.com/ • http://idratherbewriting.com • (Specifically http://idratherbewriting.com/2014/06/20/10- technical-writing-principles-to-live-by/#) Great Support Blogs • There are none – unless you want a constant stream of trite stories of how the author recently encountered good/bad service in a restaurant/shop/airline.
  11. 11. Thanks • Email: adampknight@a-sisyphean-task.com • Twitter: @adampknight • Blog: http://www.a-sisyphean-task.com

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