Skip to main content

Thought for the day: Interactive Documentation, Otherwise Known as a Play

Last week, I was at the OOP in Munich and attended Linda Rising's Workshop on Fearless Change. While we learned many interesting things about patterns for effecting change in an organization, one story really stood out:
"We developed an application using patterns and we thought that would help us hand over the application to the maintenance group.

"So we sent them the code. They didn't understand. Hmm. OK, Let's try writing some documentation. So we write some documentation. They still didn't understand. OK, let's try giving them some training. So we trained them. Better, but they still didn't get it. Hmm. What now?

"Despair, desperation.

"Someone in my group came up with the idea of doing a play, to explain the roles. So we all put on silly hats and acted out the architecture. 'I am the dispatcher and forward requests to interested parties.' 'I am a user agent, I submit requests on behalf of a user' etc. Lacking a better idea, we tried it!"
How did it work?

The other team reported, "We didn't like it -- we felt silly wearing the hats. And why you needed to put on a play to explain something so simple as your server architecture, I do not understand".

Kind of new twist on learning by doing... and we all know that is terrific way to learn. Could be a new application for youtube...


Comments

H.-P. Korn said…
Yes - I can confirm: "DOING" and "PROBING" is a much more powerful tool then to "talk about" or "to explain".
Here you can find a lot about this:
http://www.solutionstage.com/

And here:
http://www.korn.ch/solutionstage/dokumente/Staging-of-Strategic-Business-Solutions.pdf
starting with page 10 you find a real case how to use such techniques to develop a product strategy in the field of data warehousing.
(To open the document please send a mail to docrequest@korn.ch
to receive the password for free)

Cheers, Hans-Peter

Popular posts from this blog

Sample Definition of Done

Why does Scrum have a Definition of Done? Simple, everyone involved in the project needs to know and understand what Done means. Furthermore, Done should be really done, as in, 'there is nothing stopping us from earning value with this function, except maybe the go-ahead from the Product Owner. Consider the alternative:
Project Manager: Is this function done?
Developer: Yes
Project Manager: So we can ship it?
Developer: Well, No. It needs to be tested, and I need to write some documentation, but the code works, really. I tested it... (pause) ...on my machine. What's wrong with this exchange? To the developer and to the project manager, "done" means something rather different. To the developer in this case, done means: "I don't have to work on this piece of code any more (unless the tester tells me something is wrong)." The project leader is looking for a statement that the code is ready to ship.

At its most basic level, a definition of Done creates a sh…

Scaling Scrum: SAFe, DAD, or LeSS?

Participants in last week's Scrum MasterClass wanted to evaluate approaches to scaling Scrum and Agile for their large enterprise. So I set out to review the available frameworks. Which one is best for your situation?

Recently a number of approaches have started gaining attention, including the Scaled Agile Framework ("SAFe") by Dean Leffingwell, Disciplined Agile Development (DAD), by Scott Ambler, and Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde. (Follow the links for white papers or overviews of each approach).

How to compare these approaches? My starting point is Scrum in the team. Scrum has proven very effective at helping teams perform, even though it does not directly address the issues surrounding larger organizations and teams. An approach to scaling Scrum should not be inconsistent with Scrum itself.

Scrum implements a small number of principles and constraints: Inspect and Adapt. An interdisciplinary Team solves the problem. Deliver something of va…

What is the role of a Business Analyst in Scrum?

When I teach a CSM class, my goal is that my participants go home delighted (and of course that they learn about Scrum, that they are motivated to do Scrum, and can pass the online CSM exam). So after every class, I ask for feedback, in particular what could I do to get a better score. And for the next class, I strive to implement or address two or three of the points raised by my participants.

One issue that was raised was unanswered questions. It is annoying to ask questions and not get answers! Time is limited, so it is not always possible to answer all questions, so I thought, why not answer them on my blog? So here goes, first question:
What is the role of a Business Analyst in Scrum? This question is a challenge because Scrum doesn't answer this question! Scrum is a simple, team-based framework for solving complex problems. The roles and ceremonies in Scrum are designed to ensure that inspect and adapt can occur regularly with complete and correct information. Scrum does not…