Practices to collaborate on agile documentation.
List of Practices
The practices follow the documentation principles to establish and maintain an effective communication.
Practices typically have areas where they are best applied, have pros and cons. Therefore they are presented in a pattern form.
A document is considered to follow the agile principle if it is valuable, essential, and created or updated just-in-time. A documentation is created and maintained in an agile way, if all its documents follow this practice.
Organize content by keywords.
To make it easier for readers to determine the relevance of a document, there should be short description for each document.
To set the expectation right it is useful to communicate the state of each document to the collaborating authors and the readers.
Build a navigation to related and associated information by the use of document properties and dynamic linking.
All publishing organizations define a style guide for their published information. Such a guide supports teams to write in a similar tone, making it easier for readers to digest the information.
Delegate documents make it easier to reuse content from existing documents as a whole.
Impersonator documents make it easier to reuse structure with different content.
Organize information physically in flat hierarchies. Add views to put these documents in different contexts.
Make it easy for knowledge workers to focus on content and remove the need to define the document structure and formatting on a ad-hoc basis.
Consider content by the frequency of change. Group content in information sets that change in the same frequency. The most important category for changes is the record, which implies no change.
In order to take personal notes on one's own work and to reflect upon what has to be done or has been done, keep a journal. The information in the journal should be shareable at least with all team members.
Use charters to define the purpose and benefit of each document. State the expectation of the stakeholders involved.
Defer a decision to the last responsible moment is also a risk-reducing technique for writing documentation.
To enforce a common understanding of the domain, a glossary should define the terms important for the project. This also supports the ubiquitous language and makes sure nobody is left behind.
Communicate in a way expected by the reader.
Do not render text to the reader that has no information value.
Store information physically only by properties that are invariant.
Separate documents and records with different level of privacy.
Provide views on your topic-based documentation.
The product and the documentation of the product should be in different release cycles.
Users require a single point of access to all information relevant for a project.
Reduce redundancy by having one source of truth for each information. This way the written information is more easily reusable in other documents and - which is even more important - it is referenceable. Single sourcing demands automation.
A standard layout makes it easier for new members of a team to find information. A standard layout is project independent and is typically defined by an organisation.
A simple technique to enforce common understanding and knowledge distribution on important topics.
Define a basic structure for all artifacts of a given type. Readers will have an easier job on finding and learning about the information in your documentation.
Experts need the freedom to employ the set of tools they work most effectively and efficiently.
If documents are added as children to a document, these documents share the lifespan of the parent. If the parent is removed, so are the children.
Invest in the creation of a document relative to the amount of its readers and the estimated time they will save searching for the information. Also take into account that a clear text reduces the risk of misunderstanding.
The following practices are still under development.
More on documentation values and documentation principles: