Written Documentation is a Terrible Way to Communicate


I recently presented a talk called “Back to the Feature” at the South African Scrum User Group (SUGSA) conference. The talk playfully references aspects of the Back to the Future trilogy to illustrate how business analysis can be done effectively in an agile environment. This article focusses on one specific topic I covered during the presentation – that written documentation is one of the worst ways to communicate with other humans*.

* And no, the irony of writing a detailed blog post about how poor written documentation is at communicating information is not lost on me!

The first Back to the Future movie concludes with Doc telling Marty, “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!” I paraphrase this iconic movie quote as, “Written documentation? With what we’re building, we don’t need (much) written documentation!”

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