I’m going to talk about how best-selling novels turn movies or TV series is an important lesson to those in the IT industry.
There was an article a read many years ago, to be honest, I searched and can’t find it to be able to reference. The article, in 50 words was; a best-selling author was talking about the movie that was created on her book. She commented about how it differed from the book, parts of the book were represented differently in the movie, and the casting, although the cast did an amazing job, was not exactly how she pictured them.
There are countless references to similar stories all of the internet. Winston Groom, the author of Forest Gump was so unhappy about the depiction of his book in the movie he started his sequel book with the statement: Don't never let nobody make a movie of your life's story,” and "Whether they get it right or wrong, it don't matter.".
Ronald Dahl of felt the movie version of his book, Charlie in the Chocolate Factory was “crummy,” found Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka to be “pretentious” and “bouncy,” and thought the director had “no talent or flair.” He vowed that film producers would never get their hands on the sequel to similarly ruin it, at least not in his lifetime.
Reference: I found the above movie references/content here
Now how does this correlate to IT and Agile? Let’s break this down.
These are best-selling authors. These are the best of their industry. There industry is; comprehensive, descriptive and creative writing that provides readers the ability to view, see, smell and experience their stories. These are the experts at writing.
These experts however, still can’t give everyone the same context. Everyone who reads their books doesn’t visualize the same environments. They don’t visualize the characters the same, and often are disappointed by those that are cast as lead roles when books make their way to the big screen.
The masters at building a visual and interactive experience through writing can’t get everyone on the same page. Not that they would want to.
The point is, comprehensive documentation within your project will never provide everyone the same context. There will never be full alignment on what the words on the page mean to those reading it. Context comes through conversation, back and forth, and overall communication.
If you watch a movie before reading a book, you will picture the actress while reading the book, you will see the scenes from the movie when reading about them, everyone will start with the same context.
Even the experts can’t get full alignment on what they write, what possibility of success will your technical writers have? Don’t prioritize documentation over the right people talking at the right time. If you do it correctly, when those people pick up the documentation, they will all do so with the same context and common understanding.
Individuals and Interactions of Comprehensive Documentation