Recently, I ran a FLOSS Manuals book sprint to update a manual for the Thunderbird email application. If you haven’t heard of a book sprint before, the idea is quite simple: spend anywhere from two to five days writing a manual or book from scratch. Yes, it can be done!
In this case, the sprint was to update the manual for Thunderbird. There were a number of changes to the software in the year or so since I was involved in writing the original manual. But due to a number of constraints — both personal and professional — I could only devote one day to the sprint.
Obviously, there was a bit of planning involved. I gathered together a group of participants (mostly in Toronto), found a venue, and working with the folks at Mozilla (who created Thunderbird) came up with a list of changes that needed to be made. That involved pinpointing the relevant changes and making a list.
Afterwards, I was mulling what made the sprint successful. Part of it was the planning. The process that I used was very helpful. And you can apply it to any group writing project.
Let’s take a closer look at what I did and how it worked.