When first learning Agile, I had many questions, as you always do when learning something new. They were thoughtful questions; for instance, Why Agile? and What is my role as Technical Writer in this process? My colleagues always directed me to the Manifesto and asked, ‘So, you the chicken or the pig?’ Needless to say, my understanding of Agile/Scrum came from researching and most importantly, observing. Retrospectives became a valuable asset in this discovery. A way to discuss what well in a sprint, retrospectives also give valuable insight to what went wrong, information that propels change for the next iteration. Another tool I found particularly helpful was interactive whiteboards to move around ideas. These whiteboards could be tangible with florescent post-its hanging from the backdrop or interactive like Mingle. Sharing ideas in this way also facilitates discussion.
Of all the things I learned, what became most evident in the success of a software development project is the strength of your team. Hands down this is important. There needs to be communication, visibility, and transparency amongst your team. I’ve worked with some really smart people. They are inquisitive. They ask ‘Why?’ They believe, as I do, that software shouldn’t be stagnant, it should evolve.
I got some advice. Do research. For Agile/Scrum ninjas wanting to learn more about new project management tools, check out ThoughtWorks Studios. Better yet, view this table comparing features of ThoughtWorks’ Mingle and Atlassian JIRA. Tell me what you think.