Getting to “Done” for Writing teams

Presentation Abstract

In Agile development environments, the team’s “definition of done” is key to making progress at virtually all levels: story, sprint, epic, release. But how does an information development team fit their work into that definition? Documentation for a function doesn’t always fit neatly into a development story– and when the functional development spans multiple stories, the problem is compounded.

Writing teams have experimented with a variety of methods for “getting to done.” While the perfect method has yet to be discovered, I’d like to explore a few and discuss the things that we’ve tried that have shown positive results.

What can the audience expect to learn?

Debate about how documentation teams can best make their work fit into Agile environments continues to rage. Some teams have taken the approach that the writing team should just be entirely separate from the development team, others are “integrated” but follow a plan that lets documentation lag behind development by a week or an entire sprint, while others (including mine) have taken a hybrid approach to the problem. In our case, the definition of Done for a story includes completion of certain defined parts of the documentation, while completion of the epic includes more– and might require user stories that are explicitly for writing and reviewing content. I’d like to share the hybrid method that we use, to demonstrate that the definition of done can be flexible.

Meet the Presenter

Jennifer Skiendzielewski has spent 17 years as a technical writer and information architect with IBM and Ricoh, nearly 15 of those using DITA. She has been working with Agile software teams since 2010.

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