Join KellyAnn Fitzpatrick of RedMonk and Andy Stevens (Technical Content Manager, Linode) for a conversation on what a typical day looks like for a tech writer at Linode and how team processes have evolved over time (hint: they now release on Fridays).
Kelly: What is a typical day like for a tech writer at Linode, and also how have the processes that your team uses kind of evolved since you’ve been there?
Andy: Sure. So a typical day at Linode for a technical writer starts out by viewing our Kanban board. We’re an agile team. We have all of our assignments. Our sprints are about a week long. We found that we used to publish on Tuesdays because Mondays are a meeting heavy day for the week. But we found that having this kind of capsule, encapsulated work week, where we work Monday through Thursday and then publish on Friday, helped people stay on top of task, meet these kind of artificial deadlines that we’ve put for ourselves. And it’s nice to be able to hang your hat at the door on a Friday knowing that what you’ve got out during the week is out in the wild. So we have a stand up that’s in the morning where it’s 15 minutes. It’s at this point in time, it’s the most important part of the stand up, as we’re all working remote, so we can see each other’s faces and crack a few jokes and add some levity to the day. But then the rest of the day’s spent kind of in equal parts researching and writing.
I would say, given the kind of technical documentation that we write about at Linode, which is about everything that you could imagine for cloud, we’re not all experts on everything. So a lot of the time is spent kind of in solitude, researching or reaching out to subject matter experts or bouncing ideas off each other and doing the kind of outlines that we do or the fact finding missions. And then I would say that the writing comes kind of swiftly thereafter. And then and that’s most days.
On Thursdays and Fridays, there is some review that happens. So team members will say, hey, I saw your pull request the other day, I’ll review that for you or I’ll go in and do some reviewing myself. And then Friday is the day where we kick off the release and publish everything.
Kelly: Definitely going with “it’s OK to release on Fridays” for documentation.
Andy: Yeah, that was definitely my worry when we changed things a little bit and went to Fridays. But our pipeline is such that if there’s an error, we tend to catch it way in advance.