Parkour: Lessons in agility

Presentation Abstract

As companies move to Agile, they are implementing shorter development cycles and requiring continuous content delivery. Now add the challenges around a content management system, DITA, legacy content that requires restructuring, localization into 13 languages, a new Help format, and increased customer engagement. With all this, how can 4 writers and 1 subject matter expert provide learning content for 20 Agile teams distributed around the world? Join us on our journey as we share how the concepts of Parkour provided inspiration to embrace Agile. We’ll share strategies, techniques, and bits of wisdom to show you how we did it with strong teamwork and good dose of humor.

When we realized that embedding 4 writers on 20 scrum teams wouldn’t work, we organized our own service-oriented scrum team. In this session, we’ll share our workflow for collaborating with the product scrum teams to develop and deliver high quality customer learning content. We’ll also share the mindset that helps us continue to learn and discover the most efficient way to manage the uncertainty and navigate the constraints of working in a continuous development environment.

What can the audience expect to learn?

Scrum team. What can you do? This presentation describes an alternative solution that fits into the Agile process: organizing your technical writing team into its own horizontal, service-oriented scrum team. Learn how you can adopt this strategy to achieve the benefits of Agile without stretching your team to the breaking point.

Meet the Presenters

Karen Smith is a Senior Learning Content Developer at Autodesk, where she has worked with Agile teams since 2011. Karen has served as the Scrum Master for a horizontal service-based scrum team that develops learning content for over 20 scrum teams around the globe. In this role, she has become a champion for Agile and a role model for adaptability, collaboration, and customer-centered practices. Before joining Autodesk, Karen was an instructional designer, e-learning developer, and online instructor for IBM. During her career, she has worked as a curriculum developer and technical trainer for a variety of for-profit and non-profit organizations. Karen has a degree in Public Communication.



Patty Gale is a Principal Learning Content Developer at Autodesk, where she is involved in many aspects of the design, development, and production of learning content for 3D modeling software. Patty serves as the team’s information architect and content strategist. With over 25 years as a Technical Communicator, Patty has worked at businesses of all sizes, from small start-ups to large corporations. Whether the sole writer or part of a large team, Patty enjoys learning new technologies and determining the most effective way to share important information with users. She has received multiple awards from her employers and STC competitions, including an International Award of Distinguished Technical Communication. Patty holds Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science and Business Management.

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