Learning Lessons

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I love making mistakes. Really I do. Sure they can be painful, costly and time consuming but let’s look at the positives here, every time you make a mistake you can learn something new. How great is that!

As part of our release cycle, we conduct a series of retrospective meetings, one per team, in which we focus in on the things that went well (with the aim of continuing them) and things that didn’t go so well (so we can improve them). I faciliated some of the last round of these and this time round I get to do them all.

So for the coming week I have two, two hour long meetings a day, helping the teams discuss and formulate actions for the next release cycle. It’s a fascinating process and I’m quite looking forward to it.

The technical writers in my team are embedded within the development teams so they take part in the relavent retrospective meeting, but I’m currently wondering if we need our own mini-retrospective process.

Technical writing is such a spread of disciplines that, whilst we are well hooked into the development process, there are still some things that we do that are unique to the role and deliverables we produce. I have a few things that I noticed during the release that I’d like to discuss, some of which are under my control, some of which aren’t, but all are things that can be handled better in the future.

Making mistakes isn’t ever fun, we all have great pride in our work and do our utmost to be professional and dedicated. However a lot of mistakes come about through bad processes (or lack of them) and those are the ones that it is easier to tackle first.

So go ahead and make mistakes, it’s ok, everyone does. Just make sure you learn from them and figure out ways to stop them happening again in the future.