One of the significant challenges with Agile is that the teams are effectively self managing. This can present an issue when you have a significant number of junior team members. At Mindflash.com we do not have layers of management within the development organization so everyone is responsible for ensuring that they are writing code up to the standards of the organization. For the more junior folks, this means they have to ramp up their skills very quickly and work closely with the more senior members of the team. We are definitely heavily weighted on the senior side of things but I think that is generally appropriate for any team as small as ours.
Manufacturing, distribution, marketing, sales, customer contact – all of that is supremely manageable by a very small team. In the traditional model, you have this big corporation where the creative department is in the back, and they’re those wacky people with the Tabasco ties and chattering teeth in their cubicle, and everybody is a little afraid of them because they’re so “wild.” The rest of the company is the marketing, production, distribution, all of that. Well, our idea was that the little creative team could do everything.
This podcast features the June presentation that Char James-Tanny gave to the Suncoast Florida chapter on virtual ways of communicating. Char is the secretary of the STC and a well-known expert on AuthorIT, RoboHelp, and other tools.
IT project teams often need to increase collaboration and communication, but they’re hampered by the cubicle walls and other physical silos they set up in the workplace. These physical obstacles force teams to have frequent meetings — which can be long and inefficient — just to keep each other updated. In this podcast, Emma Hamer talks about both physical and virtual workspaces that project teams need to increase their performance. She also outlines the rationale for teams to gather better feedback from users, project members, and others who aren’t domain experts.
The FLOSS acronym stands for Free/Libre and Open Source Software, so it refers to both free software and Open Source software (“Free Manuals for Free Software” is one of their mottos). In constructing the acronym, the Spanish word libre was included to emphasize the idea of liberty—the lack of boundaries—as opposed to the notion of something that is available free of cost. Through book sprints, FLOSS manuals and other high quality manuals are developed in a short amount of time, and the Web makes it possible for writers from all over the globe to get involved remotely, if not locally. I interviewed Anne Gentle about FLOSS, its usefulness, and its implications for the technical writing industry.