Upgrade to Pro — share decks privately, control downloads, hide ads and more …

Learning through Agile Writing

Mark Kilby
February 24, 2020

Learning through Agile Writing

How can you clarify how you write and leverage agile principles and practices on how you deliver the right writing? This talk walks through my early struggles with writing and how agile principles and practices gave me inspiration to write early and often to clarify my learning and help others with their learning.

Mark Kilby

February 24, 2020
Tweet

More Decks by Mark Kilby

Other Decks in Technology

Transcript

  1. Learning Through Agile Writing
    (how agile principles can make you a better writer)
    Mark Kilby
    @mkilby
    (with deep appreciation to
    Johanna Rothman: @johannarothman)

    View full-size slide

  2. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby 2
    Tatiana Gladskikh © 123RF.com
    My early writing experience

    View full-size slide

  3. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    Photo
    by Hello
    I'm
    Nik
    on
    Unsplash
    3
    YES!
    YES!

    View full-size slide

  4. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby 4
    Photo by Amador Loureiro on Unsplash
    Focus on your voice, over the right words

    View full-size slide

  5. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    “Agile Doesn’t Work for
    Distributed Teams!”
    • Truth is at least 50% of all
    agile teams are distributed
    • Agile approaches can help
    distributed teams deliver
    • Pairs
    • Sustainable pace
    • Fast feedback
    5
    Source: https://www.pictofigo.com/image-detail/2650/
    ? ?

    View full-size slide

  6. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    Origin of the Book
    • We discussed what we’d
    seen: same old, same old
    • We decided to pair-write
    the book
    • We focused on
    collaboration and
    role flexibility
    6

    View full-size slide

  7. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    Agile Principles Helped Start
    • We started Aug 30, 2017.
    • We had interruptions for
    hurricanes and
    international travel
    • Developed a “book
    frame” (similar to a
    product skeleton or
    story map)
    7

    View full-size slide

  8. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    Interruptions
    • Writing from various
    locations proved typical
    distributed team
    challenges:
    • Insufficient hours of
    overlap
    • Insufficient
    infrastructure for audio
    and video
    8
    Source: http://www.afcent.af.mil/News/Art/igphoto/2000618148/

    View full-size slide

  9. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    Early Timeline
    • Wrote first three chapters
    (simultaneously) Nov-Dec
    2017
    • Reordered/refactored
    chapters
    • Finished first five chapters
    in January and February
    • Sustainable pace of 1 hour
    every day, anywhere from
    500-1500 words
    9

    View full-size slide

  10. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    Learnings Through March
    • How to function as a
    team (pair)
    • How to collaborate
    • Tools and how to use
    them
    • Micro-retrospectives
    10

    View full-size slide

  11. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    Continuous Integration?
    • Had used Google docs as
    regular text
    • Tried various markdown
    extensions/add-ons
    • Changed to writing in
    Markdown in Google
    docs and then sweeping
    to dropbox files for
    Leanpub (continuous
    integration)
    11

    View full-size slide

  12. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    When Could We Work
    Together?
    • Both in Eastern time zone
    • Needed to find at least 30
    minutes each week day
    • Normally mornings
    • We’re both fuzzy in the
    late afternoons after a
    full day
    • No deadlines; just cadence
    and flow
    12
    Hours of overlap != availability

    View full-size slide

  13. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    How We Wrote (Part 1)
    • Used a story map for
    each chapter
    • Wrote in sections
    13
    • Why do I want to read this?
    • What will I learn?
    • What will I be able to do that I
    couldn’t do before?
    • Where are we going next?
    Map texture source: Ava Verino https://flic.kr/p/85teFF CC BY 2.0

    View full-size slide

  14. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    How We Wrote (Part 2)
    14

    View full-size slide

  15. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    Backchannel
    • Text (SMS)
    • Email
    15

    View full-size slide

  16. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    Each Other’s Human Cues
    • RCA dog: head cocked,
    curious look
    • Finger on the chin means
    “I’m thinking”
    • “When I’m tired, I’m pretty
    human”
    • “We’re done”
    • “The writer/typist/AV
    engineer/secretary didn’t
    show up today”
    16

    View full-size slide

  17. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    Each Other’s Writing Cues
    • “You have to say more
    about that”
    • “Let’s unpack that”
    • “Mind if I tweak that?”
    • “I’m okay with that”
    • “Where are you?”
    • XX means fix this later
    17

    View full-size slide

  18. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    Our Working Agreements
    • Default to writing
    • Don’t write over the other person
    • If you’re typing, always go forwards
    • If you navigate, think clarity, find
    connections in other parts of
    book or references, refactor 2nd
    • Don’t try to talk and write at the
    same time
    • Change driver and navigator every
    5-10 minutes (it depends)
    18

    View full-size slide

  19. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    Results and Learning
    • Check in at the start of
    each session
    • Power of a streak
    • Declaring done (and
    moving on)
    • Write clean
    19
    Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

    View full-size slide

  20. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    Cadences, Timeboxes, Flow
    • We used flow so we didn’t
    have to batch our planning or
    retros
    • We timeboxed each day’s work
    • Replanned when we needed it
    • Plan a chapter with a map
    • Write and review in the
    small
    • Review at the end: did we
    fulfill the promise in the map?
    20

    View full-size slide

  21. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    Writing is an Act of
    Discovery
    • Writing English is similar
    to writing code
    • Clarified and refactored
    earlier work
    21
    Photo by Rachel Pfuetzner on Unsplash

    View full-size slide

  22. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    Other Learnings
    • Pair-writing might be a
    simulation for your team’s
    product development
    • Pair-writing is fun, produced a
    better book than we could
    solo
    • Johanna wishes for a real
    Markdown tool for pair-
    writing
    • Mark wishes for more
    experimentation
    22
    Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

    View full-size slide

  23. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    Distributed Team Learnings
    • Need sufficient hours of
    overlap
    • Need experiments
    • Flow worked better than
    batching for us
    • Natural communication
    tools
    23
    Acceptable Hours of Overlap
    Transparency at All Levels
    Culture of Continuous Improvement
    Pervasive Collaboration
    Assume Good Intent
    Project Rhythm
    Resilience through Holistic Culture
    Transparency at All Levels

    View full-size slide

  24. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    Where We Are Now
    • E-book available - Oct 2018
    • Print book - March 2019
    • Audio book - Dec 2019
    24
    • Online intro course (cover
    Ch 1-4) - Aug 2019
    • Online team course (Ch
    5-9) - Feb 2020

    View full-size slide

  25. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    What can you do?
    • Discover writers you like; get to
    know them and their process
    • Think about agile principles you
    could apply to your writing
    (rhythm & flow, pairing, reflection
    in the moment, etc.)
    • Find your voice (vision)
    • Find your customers, experiment
    often, see what resonates.
    • Practice, practice, practice your
    writing craft.
    25

    View full-size slide

  26. © 2018 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
    @johannarothman, @mkilby
    Let’s Stay in Touch
    • Mark:
    • http://markkilby.com
    • Twitter: @mkilby
    • http://www.linkedin.com/in/mkilby
    • Johanna:
    • Pragmatic Manager:
    www.jrothman.com/
    pragmaticmanager
    • Please link with me on LinkedIn
    • Ask about her writing courses
    26

    View full-size slide