In this episode, Mary Connor shows us the power of DocOps; an approach to delivering documentation as lean and as fast as possible.

After listening to this episode, you'll understand:

  • What DocOps is and how it differs from DevOps
  • Three principles behind DocOps
  • How DocOps can address documentation bottlenecks
  • Why DocOps helps you create higher quality documents faster

Show Notes

The DocOps approach allows you to be as lean and as fast as possible.  It’s basic survival for today’s lean agile environment and puts those who create content in line with the way we develop code.

DocOps includes three key principles:

  • Collaborative Authoring: Requires a fast, collaborative environment tied into a process for continuous updates.
  • Aggregation from Multiple Sources: Instead of content maintained in different places and in silos, everything comes together in one place
  • Customer Integration: Includes a mechanism for customers to provide feedback related to the content. This allows you to quickly update and deploy changes.


Why DocOps?

Software releases are getting faster and faster and the drive toward adaptability is becoming more critical.  DocOps is about automating absolutely everything outside of the creative, judgment driven part of content creation that only a human being can do.

This frees you up to take on more or to focus more on the critical pieces that require your expertise.  Automating some of the steps also leads to less mistakes.

DocOps is also critical for accelerating common bottlenecks such as legal reviews and translation of content.  Through collaborative authoring and developing in small iterations, you reduce the amount of content to be addressed all at once.  From there, a majority of reviews will only be on the minor changes as you iterate and the review process flow can be automated.


Steps Toward DocOps

Start by finding out what tools already exist in your organization.  The IT department may already have some of the tools you can use to implement DocOps.  Some tools, while not specifically developed for DocOps, can be leveraged for use.

Additionally, some of the software engineers may be knowledgeable in DevOps and related approaches and may have ideas on how to automate some of the documentation processes.

Try first working with what you have instead of looking for and purchasing new tools.


DocOps Isn’t Just for Agile

The underlying principles of DocOps are applicable in any environment, not just agile.  Collaborative authoring of documents, breaking down silos, and rapid customer feedback are powerful approaches in any environment.  They’re also approaches you can use for your requirements documentation.

Imagine documenting requirements and allowing your stakeholders to see the changes immediately while allowing them to provide feedback.  They can also contribute to the creation of requirements because of the shared environment.

DocOps can lead to better accuracy of documentation as well as faster generation and better responsiveness to change.


Listen to the full episode to hear all of Mary’s advice on how to apply DocOps to your work.



Your Homework

If you have a process to produce customer facing documentation, find a way to automate it.  You want the focus to be on the content creation, not on babysitting the process.  Start with simple approaches to automation such as batch files, scripts, and a scheduler to pull the document together and move it into a production environment where it’s available to the customer.


Links mentioned in this episode:

Mary Connor

Mary Connor

Lead Technical Content Developer at Caringo

Since bailing on her PhD in English and a life grading papers 20 years ago, Mary has been designing technical documentation in high-tech, focusing on Agile documentation since 2008. Currently the lone writer for Caringo, Mary has created developer documentation for cloud-based API services at Telogis and several generations of web service products at Advanced Solutions. She is all about building authoring environments that free Agile teams to write and diagram information as easily as they code.

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