Writing A Book Is Like Building A Lean Startup

My Book solves problems tech teams face all the time

“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.”

– Napoleon Hill, American writer

Do what you’re good at

I am good at uncovering and solving problems. I do this with everyone: my wife, son and daughter, developers and designers, leaders in all industries. There’s always something, somewhere that can be done a better.

Dream

I’ve always wanted to be published so put some of these problem solving ideas togther and illustrated (Thank you Robert Andre!) them. Jonathan Rasmussen (Author of “The Agile Samurai“) recommended I approach Pragmatic Publishers with an outline of the book. I got an email back from Susannah Pfalzer and Andy Hunt a few weeks later expressing Pragmatic’s interest. I was over the moon.

Get Real

My simple plan was to write 101 problem solving “Ingredients” consisting of a short paragraph of text and one illustration. Pragmatic soon informed me they needed more text and more practical advice for each ingredient. My workload increased 3 fold and this, before I realized I had to ‘code’ the book too.

Build

I have to code the book? Really?Pragmatic makes it super easy to publish content out to multiple digital formats including ebooks and pdfs. BUT this means writers need to download a version control tool and use a basic markup language called PML to code and publish their book. I commit changes to my book on average 15 times a day in order to view published changes as a PDF . How’s that for iterative and continuous improvement?

Measure

I made assumptions about the tone of voice, level of detail, amount of reference material and the importance of problems being tackled. I had many feedback and review sessions, where my book was put in front of target customers, peers, editors and publishing experts, to validate assumptions early and often.

Learn

I learned to fail fast and often to learn and improve what I was writing. Even now as people pay for and download the Beta eBook, I am expecting to hear constructive feedback I can use to make final updates. Each round of feedback is assessed and poignent points, prioritized and actioned upon. I am forever grateful to all who gave me unique insight and feedback including Paul HammondJonathan RasmussonDave Gray (Co-Author of “Gamestorming“), Giles Colborne (Author of “Simple and Usable“), Nicholas Muldoon, Paul Golding (Author of “Connected Services“)Jez Humble (Co-Author of “Continous Delivery“), Martin Belam, Cennydd Bowles (Co-Author of “Undercover User Experience design“), Chloe Barker, Marc McNeil (Co-Author of “Agile Experience Design“) and Fatima Chen to name a few :-) A big thank you to Jackie Carter, my editor who acted as a prompt and catalyst when I needed it most to get the book finished!

Want a read?

101 Design Recipes To Solve Big Tech Problems  is available to buy as a Beta eBook now. If you buy the combo pack (Beta eBook + Paper Book) you’ll get the Beta eBook immediately, with successive updates included, and get the paper book when it’s released on 31st July 2013.

 

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