Agilism: Following Tenets of Agile on path of Documentation
Agile technical writer
It is interesting to share that Agile principle when applied to any product development process, enhance the rate of product delivery in general, with simple, working prototypes produced early in the project lifecycle.
Early prototypes ensure customer satisfaction and encourage them to actively participate in shaping the product according to need and required functionality. It provides with the opportunity to give directions, create changes according to need and ultimately, help the team to develop a product with value and maximum Return on Investment (ROI).
Customer feedback helps the team to iterate, re-iterate the product in a continuous manner and help in fast, simple, and better product delivery. Cross-functional and self-organizing teams work best in this environment.
Agile principles can be applied similarly to documentation product delivery, as well.
Effective agile documentation is a balancing act, for an Agile document developer. The goal is to write just enough documentation, just in time and just for the right audience.
Application of Agile, to product documentation in general, while working on an Agile project enabled me, to align my documentation, with the developing software product.
I worked with a truly Agile team, who were fast enough in product delivery, after each iteration.
My journey from a Technical Writer to an Agile Technical Writer was really hard and exciting.
To catch-up with such a team and simultaneously document the features of working financial product, it was necessary to know their working styles.
Application of Shu Ha Ri model – the Japanese Martial art concept of training and learning, came handy to me in Agile documentation journey.
Therefore, I began to learn the basics. Enrolled myself in Agile awareness and training program in the organisation and thus started my Agile journey.
This model describes stages of learning from beginner to level of mastery, this concept helped me, in learning Agile principles and gaining the skills, required to create, agile documentation and later apply the same principles to my documentation style. According to this age-old Japanese Martial Art concept:
Shu– Learn and then perform actions to become the showstopper and role model, for others to follow.
Ha– Innovate new styles of product deliveries, improvise, and apply Agile rules.
Ri– Transcend finally with your unique style to a different level and establish your own niche.
Agility is part of my daily routine now.
I find myself somewhere between Shu – Ha stages where I have learned the principles of agility, and strictly and honestly following them in my style of agile documentation, with spikes, as and when required. This enabled me to gain customer confidence and produce faster, simpler, and better documentation with maximum Return on Investment (ROI) value!
Following Shu Ha Ri model may also help and envision the newcomers and future aspirants of technical writing field, in gradually setting up the stage for, creating an agile mindset and equally agile working environment.
Technical communication community, practitioners, as well as the young aspirants, may gear up, learn and apply the Agile methodologies in their Technical Communication during project and product documentation.
They can be encouraged to learn the need of continuous iteration, through feedback and fast document delivery, according to customer requirements.
Produce incremental quality documents, with minimum or no defects. This will enable them to write just enough and just required, precise documents, which are light, simple, and easy to refactor.
Technical Writers and aspiring writers will get to know the nuances of writing in Agile which they would like to remember, innovate on their own, improvise, and apply to their styles of writing.
They can learn to be on edge all the time, catch-up fast with changing the environment, reap the benefits of learning new tools and technologies fast, to mold themselves with emerging technologies, and adjust to the changing requirements frequently.
All this could be achieved by being agile enough to pick up new techniques and methodologies and leverage them to enjoy maximum benefit.
Shu Ha Ri model can enhance the quest for learning Agile methodologies, create a mindset for faster and simpler documentation and improvise further for the advantage of a technical writing community.
This model urges the followers, to take a plunge in the lake of agility, hone the skill and gradually apply it to their document deliveries, while adding a dash of technology and creativity, increase expertise to an extent where they become the trailblazers, on the path of documentation.
Such an environment and mindset can be created by self-motivated individuals, who really want to make difference in smoother, faster product delivery and contribute in agile transformation.
They should follow Agilism, follow tenets of Agile methodologies while learning through Shu- Ha- Ri model and walk through the path of Agile learning and gain mastery in Agile documentation!
If you want to learn and understand the principals of agility in documentation join Information Developers Foundation Certified Agile Technical Communication.