I remember that idyllic summer day when I saw my very agile dog Maggie jumping through the sprinkler. I laughed until I cried. And then I thought: This reminds me of what I do for a living.
I’m a technical writer and technical writing in an Agile environment is somewhat like chasing those water drops.
You can run after those features, but early in the game there’s not really anything to hold onto.
So, how does one document a feature that will probably change from one iteration (or day) to another without chasing one’s tail?
Workflow can be your rock in that ever-changing environment. While the feature is likely far from finalized, someone’s gotta have an idea of how people are going to interact with it.
The developers can get you started, but the workflow people (at least in my experience) are the product managers.
So, while my agile dog chases water drops, this technical writer chases product managers—and if I still don’t have enough of a big picture outline for the feature or a collection of features, then the Chief Technical Officer is in my sights.
For major features “in flux”, the best way to get “good enough” content to meet your iterative deadlines is to channel the Australian shepherd within and herd the developer, product managers and testers into a room with a whiteboard and a marker.
In half an hour, you’ll get something workable. And maybe a chance to put your two-cents’ worth into the design.
What if there’s no workflow available?
If it’s a sunny day, go find a sprinkler to jump through. These days, that’s a chilly prospect indeed.