Podcast: Technical Writing in Agile Environments

An Interview with Alyssa Fox

by Tom Johnson
Tech Writer Voices

Podcast duration: 28 min.
MP3 download available here (scroll to Dec 23, 2008 entry): http://www.idratherbewriting.com/category/techwritervoices/
 

In this podcast, I interview Alyssa Fox, an information development manager at NetIQ, about technical writing in agile environments. Agile environments involve short iterations of product development, such as three to six weeks to complete a release, rather than the longer one to two years of product development before releases.

Writing in an agile environment requires a different authoring method. On Alyssa’s team, each writer attends scrum meetings for each project and completes the help by the end of each iteration (rather than waiting until the project’s end).  Scrum is an agile development approach that emphasizes close communication through daily stand-up meetings.

Topics Covered

• How writing in agile environments differs from writing in traditional waterfall environments
• Using techniques to ensure thorough document review in agile environments
• Knowing when to attend meetings and when to skip them
• Properly allocating writers across multiple projects without losing efficiency
• Why authoring in the agile process results in higher quality documentation

Additional Resources

“Mobile and Agile: The Floating Writer’s Survival Kit” by Alyssa Fox and Meredith Kramer at http://winwriters.com/articles/AGILE/index.html

Presented at the STC 55th Annual Summit: “Mobile and Agile: The Floating Writer’s Survival Kit (PowerPoint)” at
http://stc.org/edu/55thconf/download.asp?ID=82