Challenges and Best Practices: Creating Customer Focused Documentation in an Agile FrameworkTony Xavier
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Agile is an increasingly popular development method primarily used by software companies. In Agile software development, work is confined to a regular, repeatable work cycle, known as Sprint. A sprint typically lasts for two to three weeks. In Agile, development teams strive to deliver a fully functioning, high quality, and potentially shippable product increment at the end of each sprint. Hence, product documentation becomes an essential part of the sprint deliverable to meet stakeholder requirement. Since, the primary focus of Agile development is to deliver products with high quality, technical communicators are expected to create customer focused documentation with high quality.
Creating Customer focused documents involves paying great attention to needs and opinions of customers, and creating documents with a purpose. As writers we must ensure that the documents we create focus on the needs of the actual customers of the document and provides value. As writers we must identify who the potential customer(s) for our documentation are, what they require, and create minimal documentation that they actually need. By understanding the needs of our customers we will be able to deliver customer focused documentation with high quality. However, the combination of Agile’s high speed of development, short delivery cycles, and limited requirements documentation presents a unique set of challenges in creating customer-focused documentation.
This paper highlights some of the challenges writers face and provides best practices that can be used in creating customer-focused documentation in an Agile framework.