- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools: This value emphasizes the importance of people over processes and tools. It recognizes that people are the ones who develop software and analyze business needs. Effective communication is crucial for successful interactions.
- Working software over comprehensive documentation: In traditional methods, writing documentation for a project took a lot of time. Additionally, documentation was often extensive and consumed significant development time. The agile manifesto values working software without eliminating documentation. Instead, it prioritizes essential documentation for the team, such as requirements or user stories.
- Customer Collaboration Over Contract Negotiation: When discussing collaboration with the customer instead of negotiating contracts, it is important to keep in mind that working together with the customer can bring the best results to meet their needs, and that everyone can contribute to a quality result. Decisions are made together with the focus on what is best for the client. When the customer is engaged and collaborates throughout the software development process, it is much easier to achieve a good final result, and the team can more easily understand and meet the customer's needs.
- Responding to Change Over Following a Plan: In traditional software development methods, the main focus was on developing detailed plans and following them. Over time, with the creation of the Agile Manifesto, it became clear that changes can improve projects and bring more value. It is more important to respond to changes than to follow a plan that may not make sense for the client. It is important to pay attention to customer feedback and adapt to real needs if necessary, and to adapt the plan whenever necessary.
What to Consider When Documenting?
Now that we understand a little about the values of the Agile Manifesto, we can ask: when it comes to the value of "Working software over comprehensive documentation," how important is it to document?
Some points to consider are:
- Whenever you consider documenting something, it is important to think about the benefits that having organized documentation will provide.
- Think about the needs of the people who will check and use the documentation at some point.
- Think about the usefulness it will have in the future. For example, can this documentation help in any business decision?
- Document only what is necessary for each project and focus on what is needed to avoid wasting time.
- Keep in mind that in some cases, having context on problems and documented solutions can help to avoid wasting time on issues that have already been solved in the past.
Documentation Organization Tips
When you think of organization, what is the first thing that comes to mind? I believe it is having the necessary information easily accessible. Here are some tips for organizing documentation:
- Choose a tool for writing the documentation: it is best to give preference to real-time collaboration tools, where the team can update simultaneously.
- Determine which topics need to be documented: knowing what is necessary makes it easier to structure the documentation.
- Define standards for structuring the documentation: structure it by folders and themes, so it is easier to locate each topic.
- Define those responsible for updating and writing documentation: it is extremely important to have a collaborative environment with the team and establish a routine for those responsible for documenting (whenever necessary).
- For product backlog documentation, it is important to use a tool that meets the team's needs and is always available.
- Avoid lengthy documentation with irrelevant details: the more concise and relevant the documentation, the easier it is to meet needs.
- As the project evolves, and whenever necessary, update the documentation to ensure that it is correct and up to date.
- To make it easier for team members to understand, include examples and screenshots in the documentation.
- Even with documentation, communication is key to project collaboration. Remember that one point does not replace the other, but they complement each other.
What are the benefits of documentation in agile projects?
There are several advantages that documentation can bring to agile projects. Some of these benefits include:
- Clear communication: Documentation helps transmit important information about the project in a clear and organized way to the entire team, keeping everyone on the same page and avoiding possible misunderstandings.
- Establishing a knowledge base: Documentation can serve as a rich knowledge base for the team, which is particularly useful in projects with a longer duration. It allows new members to stay informed on topics, adapt faster, and contribute sooner, facilitating integration. Additionally, documentation can be improved and updated whenever necessary, constantly improving the knowledge base.
- Facilitation of collaboration: Shared documentation enables the team to work collaboratively, making the process more efficient and enabling contributions through insights or suggestions.
- Assistance in decision-making: Detailed and relevant information available in the documentation can assist in informed decision-making that aligns with the project's objectives. Additionally, it can help mitigate risk, potential issues, and help the team better understand the context of the project.
- Monitoring progress of tasks: It is important to have a record of completed tasks, those in progress, and the next steps for the product backlog, as it helps verify how the project is progressing and identify possible bottlenecks.
- Transparency of the work carried out: Transparent documentation helps to demonstrate the work, the challenges faced, and the solutions found, and may even help other people.
Documentation is crucial as long as it serves a purpose, has clear objectives, and is accessible to those interested in consulting it. When done consciously and structured to meet needs, it can improve communication, collaboration, and help maintain a good project history. Additionally, having easy-to-find relevant points and shared learnings can help others be more effective. Enjoy the benefits provided and use documentation wisely.
is Scrum Master at Avenue Code since February 2022. Passionate about traveling, country dancing, and living new life experiences. She loves meeting and learning from people, sharing life moments, and gaining new knowledge.