Agile Crafting

Short Form


Estimating the time a project will take is pretty much the hardest thing in software, and I don't think that's any different for any other crafting deliverable. Of course, sometimes we have done something so often that we KNOW it takes 50 minutes to make a batch of raspberry jam, but that's not the same as estimation.
So if we can't rely on our own estimation, or that of others, what can we do?
We can timebox from the other direction. Instead of trying to figure out how long something will take, we can decide how long we have to spend on it. After all, you are the boss of your creative experiences. If you don't deliver on time, it's disappointing, but probably not the end of your career.


By day, I am a technical writer with over a decade of experience working with agile development. By night, I am a crafter with two kids and a lot of relationship commitment. If I don’t make crafting a joy and priority for myself, it won’t happen. And if I think of projects as long, they certainly don’t happen often.

So I am taking my agile training and applying it to crafting, along with methods from kanban, writings about the psychology of shame, my understanding of iterative development, a brief discussion of competence, imposter syndrome, motion analysis, and other related topics.

Speaking experience

Heidi is a frequent panelist at science fiction and fantasy conventions, and has taught both Agile and knitting, but not at once.


  • Heidi headshot square


    Heidi has spent years in the technical communications mines, digging meaning out of words and presenting the polished results to users. She firmly believes that less is more and that no one wants to read documentation, which makes her examine her career choices and avoid wordcount trackers. She has worked in industries such as email security, musical OCR, Medicare billing, and operating systems. No matter where she goes, she still ends up writing the release notes.

    Her passions include pseudonymity, the intersection of security and usability, and creating the perfect lemon pound cake. In the evenings she is writing a book on using Agile development methods in making and crafting contexts.


      • Title: Search-first writing for non-writers
      • Track: Cooking
      • Room: B302/303
      • Time: 3:454:30pm
      • Excerpt:

        Search-first writing makes you think about the structure of your document and product as a series of topics, instead of a big book. The days of linear documentation are over, or at least numbered. Users are much more likely to come to documentation through searches.

        As an open source creator, you may not have a writer to help you out with this, so how can you maximize their return on your minimal investment?

      • Speakers: Heidi Waterhouse