We all want to be more effective at work, that’s a given. But, what’s less straightforward is exactly how we do that.
For many, turning to a streamlined development process like Agile project management can help define steps of reaching that effectivity goal. But, you may also notice the only thing Agile project management says about documentation is it values “working software over comprehensive documentation.”
In this article, we’ll break down the proper Scrum documentation strategy, share some best practices, and show you what to look for in a Scrum documentation platform.
What is documentation in Scrum?
Before we dive too deep into the Scrum documentation process, let’s clearly define what exactly we mean when we talk about Scrum.
Scrum is an Agile approach to project management that involves valuing some project components over others. The Scrum process acknowledges certain trade-offs exist in a given project, and not everything can or should be completed to its fullest potential.
The documentation efforts in Scrum emphasize individuals over tools and processes and focusing on creating tangible results or products versus comprehensive documentation.
In essence, Scrum documents are about creating tangible value and cutting out the admin work and noise that traditional project management approaches can fall victim to.
Some common Scrum documents include user guides, installation notes, release notes, troubleshooting documentation, FAQs, and so on.
As you can see, the Agile documentation the Scrum team creates supports not stakeholders, but the end-user. It’s all about making them see the value of what you create, and that in turn makes stakeholders happy.
Why is documenting your Scrum projects important?
The Scrum framework is all about delivering value to the end-user. Ultimately, that means the actions you take to develop your product should always keep the customer’s interest at heart.
The same concepts also apply to documentation which can often be a time-consuming task. Just like you don’t want to waste time creating a deliverable that has a questionable value, the same is true for documentation.
Look at any diagram of the Scrum process — like the one shown above — and you won’t find anything about documentation. It’s all about taking prioritized action, creating something of value, and repeating the process.
But, slowing down to ensure the end-user understands the end product through content or documentation is a critical step that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Scrum and Agile documents almost always either benefit the end-user or help ensure the project team is on the same page. Both are vital to the success of any organization.
4 best practices for documenting your project
The Scrum methodology for creating the right documentation follows a handful of best practices everyone should know:
1. Do “just enough” documentation
Documentation should be just-in-time or late in the process.Do Scrum documentation when you have to and relatively close to the release date. Don’t spend time documenting just because you can or documenting early iterations that are subject to change.
Documenting late means you’re only documenting the final product and because it’s actually needed.
2. Focus on simplicity
A technical document that’s over 25 pages is a big ask for an end-user to read, let alone comprehend.
With Agile documentation, you should focus on something more streamlined.
Have your Agile team create a 3-page document with useful content in bullet point format. The latter is much easier to read, and since it’s concise, you can ensure it’s high-quality and less prone to errors.
3. Use technology to your advantage
Traditional documentation often means text docs and spreadsheets, but you can get creative with graphics and video content that provide greater context to the end-user and require less effort to produce or consume. With monday workdocs, you can create your documentation in a centralized Work OS and embed live elements so your data is always updated.
Using a centralized platform, like monday.com Work OS, you can house your Scrum product backlog, all your files, and the technical and creative notes that’ll help create your Scrum documents.
4. Eliminate documentation wherever possible
Before starting the documentation process, it’s wise to ensure you actually need to do it at all.
Ask yourself this series of questions to ensure the documentation is actually needed or useful to the consumer:
- Who is the target audience of the documentation?
- What exactly is it needed for?
- How will the target audience use it?
- How much will it cost to produce it?
The more detailed your answers, the better you’ll feel about committing to document creation.
Essential features of a Scrum documentation management platform
Your Agile team knows what to do and when to do it, but there’s a strong chance they’re following a workflow that’s months or even years old.
The Scrum methodology is simple, but it’s about evolving to be more efficient so you can serve the end-user.
With that in mind, here are five essentials to look for when searching for a Scrum documentation management platform:
Using Scrum project management means focusing on collaboration, that’s why Scrum meetings are so essential to the process. People need to synchronize to ensure they’re working on the right things and helping each other when they get stuck.
Using monday.com, Scrum team members are able to connect on various Scrum boards that streamline team communication. You can tag people to get updates in real-time or see if a task is stalled and requires someone to lend a hand.
You also have built-in integrations for chat applications and video conferencing that level up your team collaboration so you can work on creating Scrum documents anywhere in the world.
In order to create Scrum documentation that is reflective of the work your team has accomplished and always up-to-date, the platform you work in and the platform you create your documentation in need to be connected.
Unlike traditional docs, monday workdocs are an integral part of your team’s larger Work OS. That means that the same platform you plan your sprints, update your product releases, and manage your team’s workload, is also where your team can draft their Scrum documentation. Having all of your team’s work in one unified platform cuts down the noise of trying to balance multiple work tools, but it also ensures that the data you’re working from is always up-to-date.
Workdocs enable anyone on your team to embed boards, dashboards, or any live element from your Work OS directly into a workdoc. This leaves no room for overlooked updates or outdated data — all of your team’s most crucial workflows exist in one place.
Scrum is all about remaining self-organized and continuously improving. One such way to improve is by harnessing the power of automation.
For instance, in monday.com, automation recipes make it possible to take manual work off your plate simply by creating the right recipe.
The recipe combinations are infinite and can cut down on the need for meetings, emailing status updates, and much more.
For Scrum documentation specifically, you can automatically notify the marketing and design team when a user guide is complete so they can add beautiful graphics to enhance its quality.
You can also assign a checklist of questions to each Scrum documentation task to ensure it’s a worthwhile investment of time for your team.
Integrations streamline the flow of information between multiple software applications.
monday.com supports dozens of software integrations ranging from CRM and marketing tools to software development and project management.
Ultimately, it means all the tools you use to bring value to the end consumer are connected. Especially considering monday.com integrates with Zapier, which connects you to an additional 3,000+ apps.
When it comes to the documentation effort of your team, the right integration is invaluable. Integrating with services like Adobe’s Creative Cloud means the documents your designers create automatically sync with the content your software team is creating in monday workdocs.
You also get the power of monday.com’s apps marketplace, which has a seemingly endless supply of special views, widgets, integrations, and templates that’ll help streamline your Scrum documentation efforts.
5. Customizable workflows
Arguably the most important feature to look for in a Scrum documentation management platform is flexibility. Can it fit into your workflow?
With monday.com, that’s not a concern. It has 30+ customizable column types to customize your workflow and integrate document creation into. That means you get to design the perfect workflow and layer in your documentation effortlessly.
Taking your work to another level with the power of monday.com
monday.com is far more than just a Scrum documentation tool, it’s a complete Work OS that’ll transform the way your Scrum project teams do their work.
Each of the Scrum roles will have access to your Scrum boards and reap the benefits of:
- 200+ templates that streamline project management.
- 8+ data visualizations that bend your data into useful visuals.
- Robust security, including 2FA and SSO, so your Scrum documents are protected at all times.
- Limited board and workdoc permissions to ensure security and corresponding Scrum documentation where needed.
- Customizable dashboards so everyone is always on the same page.
As you can see, monday.com makes Agile documentation feel effortless and will make your stakeholders satisfied in more ways than one.
Delivering value now
The key to mastering Scrum documentation truly lies in leveraging the right tools, following best practices, and making sure the documentation is actually useful to the end-user.
In this article, we’ve given you the tools to really get ahead on the final 2 points. Want to level up by also leveraging the right software? It’s time to see for yourself why 125,000+ companies use monday.com.
To get started, check out our Scrum Planning template to see it in action.