Up by 20: Our first documentation sprint


Our first documentation writing sprint was a big success: we had a great time and got a lot of work done… the perfect combination!

What we did

The sprint started at 8am GMT on the Friday the 10th, when people started to gather in the IRC.

phpList manual sprint launched on twitter

Anna, the phpList Community manager, was the first to arrive, and she turned up in her Koala onesie…

phpList community manager wears Koala onesie

Anna arrived first… and arrived in style!

People choose tasks to do, and we chatted and worked together, mostly remotely, but later in the afternoon Anna and David met up together as they live near-by.

David enjoying a coffee with Anna

David enjoying a coffee with Anna

We bantered by twitter,  mostly about coffee (Anna’s head exploding tweet was particularly enjoyed)

sprint banter

And Ozzy’s big mug was also a hit!

Ozzy drinking coffee

Sharing coffee digitally is fun!

By the end of the second day, we were really ploughing through the work, with test after test being run. We finished the sprint at 9pm GMT on the 11th.

the sprint ended at 10pm gmt on the saturday

Work didn’t really stop right away, there has been a slow-but-steady stream of progress since

What we achieved

  • We doubled the number of completed tasks
  • We finished four chapters from start to finish
  • We  completed 14 test-uses on finished chapters to see how easy they are to follow
  • We submitted 7 new bug reports/feature suggestions to improve phpList
  • We had a good time!
Our progress bar went from 23% to 32% in only two days!

Our progress bar went from 23% to 32% in only two days!

Who was involved

There were lot’s of people involved in the sprint, doing many different tasks, all of which were vital to the success of the sprint.

The writers were;  Veki, Alexberendi, DanWaterloo, Deajan (ozzy), Dragonrider (David) and Gingerling (Anna).

The “testers” were: Tolfsen (Andreas), Clorith, Bjornbalazs, Titano, Mwastling, Sirromeoj, Charlizegirl, Natogreendog, Actexcellence.

tasks done

We ran lots of tests to check the quality of the chapters

The promoters were;
@andreasosso, @MarcoDelaMora @hktang @soullivaneuh @lschneider4 @moderndayfreak @samtuke @Sourcefabric @Vitexus @luuuciano and Lester Montilla Duran.

Let’s have a big, digital round of applause for them all!

What next?

There are still loads of things to do before the manual is ready for proofing and publication.

More chapters…

We have 20 chapters assigned, but still not finished, and we have the following three chapters with no author yet:

  • Advanced templating chapter (write)
  • WordPress Chapter (write)
  • Drupal Chapter (write)

More testing…

We also have nearly 60 tests still to run.

“Testing” chapters is where someone (who did not write the chapter) reads through the instructions with a beginners eye, following them carefully and checking for discrepancies or confusing points.

Testing a chapter takes very little time but makes a big difference to the quality

Testing a chapter takes very little time but makes a big difference to the quality

Some of these tests take only 5 or 10 minutes, but they are really vital tasks too! If you want to test a chapter, email anna@phplist.com

When will the manual be ready?

Currently, the aim is to publish the manual at the start of December. There is a lot still to do before that point. Let me know if you can help!

writing the manual milestone