Agile development is a popular methodology used by software companies. This presentation describes how technical writers can transition to agile development smoothly when they float among several cross-functional project teams.
1. Mobile and Agile: The FloatingWriters Survival KitAlyssa FoxInformation Development ManagerMeredith KramerLead Information Developer 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 2. Making the TransitionTerminology Scrum An agile development approach that emphasizesclose communication through daily stand-up meetings. Scrum master The team member who facilitates scrummeetings and works to remove blocks that prevent teammembers from proceeding with their work. Iteration A short period of time in which a full softwaredevelopment cycle occurs. Backlog The repository for all requirements and wish listitems for the project. Capacity The maximum amount of hours a team membercan work during one iteration.2 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 3. Making the TransitionDesign Documents Moving from specs to user story documents Shorter, more fluid documents Allows for easier refinement and rework upon customerfeedback Helps floating writers not get bogged down in lengthy specswhen they are brought on to the project Paper prototyping with screenshots and detailedfunctionality information3 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 4. Making the TransitionAdapting Your Review Cycle Use three drafts: first draft, approval draft, qualityedit draft. Write doc for a feature in the iteration it isdeveloped and tested. Keep the user story open until Dev/QE hasreviewed the documentation for technical accuracy. Consider doing away with a formal first draft formore mature products and documentation libraries. Use the full approval draft as a means to show thenew documentation in context of the entire book.4 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 5. Making the TransitionAdapting Your Review Cycle - Advantages QE and Development no longer have to review an entire book(or multiple books) during one of the busiest times of therelease cycle. Info Dev gets more thorough reviews since QE and Dev havemore time each iteration to review pieces of thedocumentation. The documentation is more technically accurate and of ahigher quality due to more thorough reviews. The floating writers needed capacity for an approval draft isreduced because most of the work has already been done inprevious iterations. If you have multiple books on multiple products, there is notas big of a hit all at once on your time. Floating writers have a more complete document with whichto work for an iteration or two.5 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 6. Gaining Clout on the Product Team6 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 7. Gaining Clout on the Product TeamSpeak Up! Take the initiative to get involved in ALL parts of theproduct development. Attend scrum meetings for the projects in whichyoure involved. Be detailed and specific when asking questions orgiving information to others. Pave the way for any other writers that may join theteam later.7 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 8. Gaining Clout on the Product TeamSample Scrum Topics Development Bad: Im working on the installer. Good: Im working on the new installer screens that containuser credentials for accessing the database. I need some helpwith text on these new screens, so Ill be coming to talk toInfo Dev later today or tomorrow about this. Bad: Im working on the Customer X issue. Good: Customer X is having a problem where when they runsecurity checks against their SQL Server 2005 endpoints,theyre getting data that doesnt make sense. When I looked inthe XML file for the security check, I realized the check wascoded incorrectly to run only against SQL 2000 endpoints. Imfixing the code in the check file so it can run against SQL2000 or 2005 endpoints.8 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 9. Gaining Clout on the Product TeamSample Scrum Topics QE Bad: Im running test cases. Good: Im running test cases for Feature X. Im about 75%done with those, but cant seem to get the modify function towork, so Im blocked on those test cases. Bad: Im writing test cases. Good: Im writing positive and negative test cases forFeature Y. We need to make sure it works when the correctparameters are put in, but we should also look for whathappens when we put nonsense characters in for parametervalues. Developer Joe, lets get together later to talk aboutwhether there are any restrictions on special characters in theparameter field.9 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 10. Gaining Clout on the Product TeamSample Scrum Topics Information Development Bad: Im working on the User Guide. Good: Im creating a new chapter in the User Guide forFeature X. Ive talked with Development and received all theinformation I need to complete the draft, but will go back tothem tomorrow for them to take a look at what I wrote toensure its technically accurate. Bad: Im creating the help for Feature X. Good: I am about done creating the help structure for thewizard Feature X uses. Developer Sally, Ill need to get withyou to show you what I did in the mapping file so we can hookup the help to the wizard page code. Im also adding thesetopics to the .chm files table of contents.10 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 11. Gaining Clout on the Product TeamBe Involved Show an interest in the requirements, design, andthought behind the design of the product. Attend any and all release planning and iterationplanning meetings. Offer to help improve text in the GUI. English is second language for many developers. It might only take a label change for window to be much more clear. Be a usability advocate. Have the writer working on the feature interact withthe developer/QE person working on the feature.Dont funnel all information through one person.11 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 12. Gaining Clout on the Product TeamTake Ownership of Technical Accuracy Dont assume the product works like the developertells you it does. Install and maintain your own builds of the product. Allows you to better determine if there is a technical or usability issue in the product. Lets floating writers quickly and easily access the product to reduce amount of time it takes to be effective on the team. Gain your teams trust by having a solidunderstanding of the product. Make more informed suggestions for change.12 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 13. Planning the Release13 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 14. Planning the Release Do resource planning on an iteration-by-iteration basis. Have a manager or coordinating lead look at resources across projects. Have iteration planning meetings. Create a review schedule appropriate to the project. Ensure approval draft comes after Feature Complete. Have pieces of documentation reviewed during active Development iterations. Ensure quality edit draft occurs during a hardening iteration. Work on doc-specific tasks and bugs in early iterations. Ally with product management. Support Info Dev in numerous ways. Can be a wealth of information about customers and their use of our products.14 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 15. Planning the Release15 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 16. Creating User Stories16 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 17. Creating User Stories What is a user story? A software system requirement Defines what is to be built Prioritized, make up the backlog Stories may be related together as features or themes17 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 18. Creating User StoriesGood User Stories Benefits to Floating Writers Independent Can be worked on without pulling in other stories, can be scheduled in any order Negotiable Allows flexibility with engineering team, implies it is understandable (easy to pick up) Valuable Frames stories from customer perspective Estimatable Allows lead/manager to pull floating writers on to project based on their capacity and estimate of time needed for story Sized appropriately Lets floating writers focus on smaller pieces and move on and off project more smoothly Testable Lets floating writers see what the feature is supposed to do upfront and can write more thorough documentation upfront18 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 19. Creating User StoriesUser Story Tasks Benefits to Floating Writers Specific Helps in understanding and prevents overlap, which is useful when pulling writers on and off projects from iteration to iteration. Measurable Helps floating writers know when to mark the task as complete so they can move on to other projects if needed. Achievable Helps determine if task is realistic. Relevant Helps determine if task relates to fulfilling the user story, thus contributing to the release. Time-boxed Helps floating writers know how much work remains and whether the task will be done within the iteration.19 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 20. Creating User StoriesExamples Bad example:Discovery and registrationDiscover and register the supported operating system, applications, webservers, or database instances monitored by an agent on a Windowscomputer. Good example:Good User Story Example.fm20 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 21. Planning the Iteration21 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 22. Planning the IterationCoping with Multiple Projects and Scrums Work with your lead or manager to spread your workload so you can delegate scrum meeting attendance to others. Attend scrums that pertain to your highest priority project only. Ask the scrum master to send status emails for the meetings so you know what you missed. Ensure you have a presence on your team so your team doesnt forget you when youre not there.22 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 23. Planning the IterationDetermining Capacity Consider previous iteration estimates. Include vacation and non-iteration responsibilities, such as meetings, customer support, time for planning, etc. (approximately 25% of each team members time). Do not include the first or last day of the iteration. Ensure Development finishes early so QE and Info Dev have time to complete their tasks before the iteration ends.23 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 24. Planning the IterationCapacity Example Meredith is a team member for Project A and Project B. Iteration 1 for Project A is Feb. 7-20. Iteration 3 for Project B is Feb. 5-18. Project B has a planning day Feb. 15, so Merediths capacity for Feb. 15 on Project A is 0.24 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 25. Planning the IterationCapacity Example25 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 26. Planning the IterationSizing Documentation Work Create more accurate estimates by applying a standard number of hours per page of doc based on the level of source material. Plug in your tasks based on the information in the user story to quickly estimate the amount of work needed to complete your tasks. Compare the number of hours required to complete tasks to total hours of team member capacity.26 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 27. Planning the IterationSizing Documentation Work - Example27 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 28. Contact Information28 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 29. Contact InformationAlyssa Fox Information Development Manager NetIQ Corporation email@example.com 713-418-5334Meredith Kramer Lead Information Developer NetIQ Corporation firstname.lastname@example.org 713-418-540029 2008 NetIQ Corporation. All rights reserved. 30. NetIQ Confidential Information