Archive for February, 2012

Shane Hastie was proposed by Dennis. Shane is a CKE. CKE as in Chief Knowledge Engineer. I love that title. You might know Shane from [his articles for InfoQ. Shane lives in New-Zealand in a timezone exactly 12 hour difference from Belgium (where I live). That makes skype calls between us kinda funny. When I talk to him at 21 PM (my time), it’s 9 am the next morning (on his side).

What is something people usually don’t know about you but has influenced you in who you are?

As a teenager in the 70‘s I was really fortunate to get involved in a progamme run by the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg) that was an introduction to computer science. I spent many Saturdays writing programs in Fortran and Assembler; we even had to build our own controlled logic device 4-bit computer to understand how they work. That instilled an interest in computing and gadgets, but I didn’t go into computing straight from school. Instead I initially worked in retailjewelry and food – which gave me a reasonable understanding of ensuring that the product you sell must meet real people’s needs. When I moved into computing as a career I brought this customer focus into my work and have found that it helps me deliver better products that meet the customer’s needs.

Malcolm Watson from Pronto Software puts it perfectly: Technology exists to serve the human need, not to be the human need.

If you would not have been in IT, what would have become of you?

Before I trained as a programmer I was managing a jewelry store, and was seriously considering becoming a gemologist. I’m still interested in sparkly things :-) I suspect that my wife would have enjoyed it if I’d taken that path.

What is your biggest challenge and why is it a good thing for you?
I tend to be a workaholic, and struggle to say “no” when asked to take on something new, especially if it’s something I am interested in.

Getting the right balance is really hard, and I don’t think I’ve got there yet; my wife is certain that I haven’t!

Not so sure about the “good for me bit” – it’ll be good when I do manage to find the right balance though :-)

What drives you ?

I’m passionate about sharing what I’ve learned over the last 30 years in IT. I think that I’ve made most of the mistakes that are out there and have learned lots by doing so. If I can help some people and teams improve their way of working and instill a real focus on building products that create customer delight while having fun and working effectively together then I feel I have achieved something of value.

I’ve just spent some time with a team in Brisbane, helping them implement Agile techniques in their workplace. It was a wonderfully satisfying experience to hear them debating the merits of the practices and come to a deep understanding of what it means to work in this way. They really “got it” and we were able to put it into practice right away. The delight and happiness that this team feel in their work shines out of them and their customers really appreciate the products they’re building. Being able to help people rekindle their joy in work is tremendously satisfying. We spend most of our waking hours at work – it should be both fun and satisfying.

What is your biggest achievement?

Nancy and I have raised five wonderful children to adulthood, this I feel is the ultimate legacy – the values and principles we’ve helped instil in the lives of those who are closest to us.

My relationship with my wife Nancy has to count as a hugely important part of who I am – we’ve had 31 wonderful years together, have truly experienced the “in sickness and in health for richer, for poorer; for better, for worse” and are still on honeymoon.

On a professional level I would say getting my Master’s degree as an adult learner (I didn’t go to university after school, I got married instead) is something that I have found personally very satisfying. I approached it with a degree of arrogance (I’ve been doing this for over 20 years, what can these academics teach me) and found that there was a huge amount that I didn’t know, and needed to learn. It also gave me a strong understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of why the practices that I espouse work – I was working with a company in Melbourne who were adopting Agile as their way of working and studied them before and after the process change. So I learned (again) that Agile works, and also why it works so well.

What is the last book you have read?

I’ve just finished Specification by Example by Gojko. I’m busy building a course on business analysis in agile projects and his approaches are wonderful – he clearly explains the value and benefit of the ATDD practices in a simple pragmatic way. I’m planning to include his book as part of the course material.

I recently finished Radical Management by Steven Denning – another great read. He talks about overturning the fundamental ideas that underpinned management in the 20th century and focusing on the principles that drive business in the 21st – customer delight, joy in work, self-organising teams and professionalism.

What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?

What are you working on at the moment and why does it matter?
Thanks for asking – I’m really glad to be working with an international team under the auspices of the Agile Alliance and the International Institute for Business Analysis on defining the Agile Extension to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge.
Currently there is a vast gulf in understanding about the role of analysis on agile projects, which is leading to distrust and misunderstanding in the professional communities. I want to bridge these gaps – analysis is a vital skillset that every team building software products needs to have, and the fundamental knowledge of the analyst is really important on an agile project. How analysis is undertaken changes significantly and business analysts need to understand that their role will be different on agile projects – in my opinion it becomes much richer and more rewarding as we shepherd the product to delivery rather than focusing on writing cumbersome documents that are frequently ignored.

Who do you think I should ask next?

1. Johanna Rothman: she’s a great author, inspirational and wonderfully pragmatic in her writings, fantastic to work with (I recently had the opportunity to build and deliver a workshop on working effectively in distributed teams with her), and deeply passionate about improving the world of work. The AYE conference (she is one of the organisers) is a life-changing event. If you haven’t got her already then she’s my number one.

2. My colleague Sharon Robson- one of the Influential Women in Testing, she was also profiled in the Women in Agile program at Agile 2010. She is a great tester who is influencing the direction of the craft, tells great stories and is making a real difference with her work.

3. A friend and confederate James King, he has a low profile in the Agile community but is doing some great stuff with the teams he’s working with across Australia. He has designed a couple of really good games that help imbed the agile attitudes and understand the principles.

If you like these answers, I hope you buy the book: Who is agile
In the book lots of agilists answer the same questions and Shane’s answers also
Yvonne vanderLaak’s question: Who inspires you/is your role model?

When I asked Yvonne to be in the book, she was really surprised. Not fake suprised, as some actresses do when they get an Oscar, she was surprised because technically she is not an agilist. She used to work for the Dutch branch of Xebia) as a Marketing Coordinator. I have not met Yvonne, yet for me, her interaction on twitter showed me that her mindset was really agile. I don’t know if that’s because of the influence of working for an agile company (which some of us would like) or because Xebia has great hiring skills. This book wants to show off people who understand agile and who breathe it and that is why Yvonne is in the book.

 

 

What is something people usually don’t know about you but has influenced you in who you are?

I am an idealist. My goal in life is to make the world a better place, especially when it comes to animal welfare. I have always known that this is something I care about, but only recently realized that it is actually the thing that drives me. My goal is to make a difference in the world. Social media helps me to get there.
 
If you would not have been in IT, what would have become of you?

Well actually, I am not in IT myself anymore. I used to work for Xebia, but started my own business – Start With Y – in social media and online branding. I have a background in communication and marketing. Some of my clients, however, are from the Agile community.
I have never deliberately chosen to be in IT. It sort of happened, but I must say that working at Xebia has definitely changed me. I have met so many great, driven people that have inspired and encouraged me. They have introduced me to the wonderous world of agile which still comes in handy as agile is definitely not just an "IT thing" anymore.
 
What is your biggest challenge and why is it a good thing for you?

Being an entrepreneur. I am not a very disciplined and orderly person, so having to manage myself and not having anyone to report to, is quite a challenge sometimes. Still, I am also the one that feels the pain as soon as I am slacking, so that keeps me going.
Just recently I have decided to look for a ‘real’ job  again and keep my business on the side. Working for myself has been an amazing experience so far. It helped me figure out what I want and like and how to get there. It made me very independent, but it also reminded me that I have to ask for help sometimes…
 
What drives you?

Happiness. Respect. Personal development. Fun. My fiancé. Animal welfare. And of course, world peace Winking smile

I am always looking for new things to broaden my horizon. This often results in my friends saying ‘You are doing what?! Why?!’ or ‘That’s so typical for you’, whenever I tell them about my new Russian language course, sports club (rarely), collecting books for schools in Surinam (in progress) or organizing a beach cleanup (coming soon). I love learning new things and contributing to social or environmental projects. I love sharing knowledge and creating awareness, especially amongst my friends. And I am fortunate to have the most amazing guy supporting me and watching my back, no matter what I do.
 
What is your biggest achievement?

Leaving the stability of a job behind and starting my own business. With all the struggles and insecurities that come with it. And I am enjoying every minute of it. Well, maybe not every minute, but at least a few hours every day ;)
 
What is the last book you have read?

You mean actually finished? Let me think… I am halfway through Start With Why by Simon Sinek, the same goes for Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard. I am reading a few Dutch books about starting up your own business. And I have a pile of about 20 books that I still want to read, most of them related to social media, general management or personal development.
Furthermore, I’ve just read The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz by Denis Avey and I am now reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
The next book I am going to buy for fun is Il Etait un Fois by Benjamin Lacombe. I love fairy tales and picture books with pretty drawings.
 
What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?

Who inspires you/is your role model? Similar to ‘what drives you?’ but not quite the same.
If I would have to name a few of my role models they would be

Sir Richard Branson (a self-made business man and idealist who works together with the biggest leaders in the world, trying to make a change and having fun while doing it),

Farah Fawcett (an amazingly strong woman who even when she was dying, wanted to help others by making a documentary of her illness)

Lady Gaga (a very young, driven and talented woman who has managed to build one of the biggest and tightest fan clubs in just a few years time).

And closer to home: Roos van Vugt, who is one of the biggest influencers in the Dutch social media/online community, has a great career, 4 kids and is a very nice person.

Last but not least my soon-to-be-hubby. Corny but true.
 
Who do you think I should ask next?

Definitely some Dutchies! I’d be curious about the anwers of Lillian Nijboer and some of my fomer collegues e.g.  

Last week Yvonne’s answers were already published in the Who is agile book together with the answer to the question: If you could have any super power, what would it be?

In his TED talk, Simon Sinek talks about how great leaders inspire action. The Why over how is an important part of the agile mindset. That is why agile is important for your business. First figure out why and only then how and what.

Who is Ola Ellnestam?
Ola Ellnestam was invited by Zuzi. Zuzi wrote she was interested in Ola‘s answers.
You might know Ola from his Mikado method. You gotta love a man that invents a method called Mikado. I’m not sure where I met Ola, I think it was at SDC 2010. Oh and don’t mix Ola up with Ole one letter different, two different countries (Ola is from Sweden, Ole from Denmark) and two total different people, both in their own special way.

What is something people usually don’t know about you but has influenced you in who you are?

I have no formal education when it comes to programming. Actually I haven’t attended any ‘higher’ education at all. After 13 years in school I decided I’ve had enough. So, at the age of nineteen I told my mother I wanted to work with people and computers and she looked at me like I was from outer space. ‘You can’t work with computers and people, it’s either or …’

Two months later I was hired as a software & hardware support technician at Sweden’s largest emergency hospital, where I stayed for three years. After coming in contact with a lot of bad and good computer programs, and more importantly the people who used them I realize how important it is for software to be really fit for purpose.

If I had continued studying I probably would have missed the computerization of the Stockholm area health care and a lot of learning opportunities as well.

If you would not have been in IT, what would have become of you?

My first real memory regarding a career choice was related to flying. I dreamt about being a fighter pilot or traveling in space. Probably because I built a lot with Lego and around that time the coolest parts were the space Lego. Later when I considered myself too old for playing with Lego, I felt something was missing and it would take me another 5 years before I could put my finger on what. It was programming that filled the hole I’d felt, the creative, experimental aspect of it and the development and realization of ideas I had. They could all be done with computer programs.

In a way I have my dream job so I haven’t thought much about an alternative. But if I were to reconsider my career now, it would definitely include people and something very creative.

Maybe creating social games or being an artist.

What is your biggest challenge and why is it a good thing for you?

Living in the ‘now’ is what causes me most conflict really. I sometimes catch myself planning the next family dinner or party in my mind, while being at a party or having dinner with the family. It’s sort of the opposite of running around and taking photos of everything. Photographing would be documenting, while sort of trying to imagine the future and creating it, there and then.

What comes out of this constant planning for the future is a lot of options though, which I do appreciate. And this inclination I have towards exploring options and preparing comes in handy in my work where adaptivness and flexibility often are appreciated and a lot easier if you have thought a bit ahead.

What drives you ?

I guess it’s an [un]healthy mix of curiosity and a feeling that there’s always a better way. I constantly have this nagging feeling that I can do better, this code could be a bit clearer and I just can’t sit idle and watch something being done inefficiently. Or even worse, see people spend energy, money or time in a manner that I feel is ineffective.

What is your biggest achievement?

That’s a really tough one because I don’t feel like I ever achieve something as I tend to minimize my own part in what I do. But if I trick myself and rephrase things a bit I would say I’m very proud of my family, my three kids and my lovely and supportive wife. I’m also proud of the company I started 5 years ago with my colleagues. Again if you look at what drives me, I think my biggest achievement is somewhere in the future, I like to think that tomorrow I’m going to do even better.

What is the last book you have read?

The last one I’ve actually read the final page of was Idealized Design by Russel Ackoff et al. It was interesting because of its practical advice and interesting stories about systems thinking.

But my reading is more this pile of books that are lying around and waiting to be finished. I got a handful going at the moment and somehow it feels like I never really finish books, apart from fiction books, which I feel are more important to actually read from cover to cover. Books that are non fiction almost always cause me to pick up a new book, as I get ¾s into them. That obviously doesn’t help me in finishing books. At least not in the sense ‘reading the last page’.

What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?

What is your favorite question right now?

The answer is ‘Could you please tell me something I don’t know about <>.

I love asking people that because it spawns really interesting conversations when you time it right.

Who do you think I should ask next?
Chris Matts or Aki Salmi .

Chris because of his energy, his drive and constant challenging of current views and ideas.
(Ola answered this before Chris his Who is was published.)

Aki because of his humility and his engagement in creating an active Agile community in Finland.

If you like these answers, you might want to buy the Who is agile book it contains tons of answers like this, with extra questions not on my blog.

One of the thing I personally like in agile is a Minimum viable Product

With an MVP you publish a product as fast as possible. Yes even before it is finished. The idea about an MVP is to get fast feedback and not just any feedback, feedback from clients that will use the product.  And for me it also means feedback from all stakeholders.
(Somehow some stakeholders only start looking at a product when it’s in production.)

Now from time to time you will get a client or a stakeholder that when looking at the MVP, he will get angry. Angry because he does not like what he sees. He will feel ignored or worse, he might think that you did it on purpose to harm him. Personally I don’t know any companies that on purpose want to harm their clients.
As a customer, I sure have felt that my suppliers did harm me and in most cases it felt they did that on purpose.
As a coach I advise parties to use the retrospective prime directive. In other words: try to consider that the other party did the best he could with what he knew etc..
But what if they did? For that I advise you to read the wonderfull discussion posted at InfoQ a few years back.

I try to use the RPD in almost every interaction with other people. I say try because it’s hard. And I ignore the RPD from time to time; The moment I when I fail the most, is when I think I see people ignoring the RPD themselves. I can get upset when I see people by default assuming someone else did something on purpose.
Last friday that is what I did when I saw a whole discussion on twitter about an article on the agile alliance website.
I missed the first part of the discussion but what I saw was a lot of accusations that felt totally wrong (as I knew Laurent who wrote the article). I felt bad because I had a big respect for everyone involved in the discussion. And I felt that the discussion was really hard. Now make no mistake, I have no problem with hard discussion. I have a problem when I have the feeling that people attack persons and not actions.
I joined the discussion. I thought I did well,as I stayed calm and tried to explain why I thought Laurent was not such a bad person. I took a while before an elephant came out. David said that he felt that Laurent was acting as everything like the AA before. I realized that I had suspected that a lot was related to a history between David and AA. But I had not said it. In other words, I was not respecting David as the RPD is asking me to do.
When I realized that, I started a private chat with David. Right at the start he said that this had nothing to do for him with the history he had with AA. And I believed him. If he says it’s not related, I trust him for that. Now that the elephant was out of the way,  we could discuss about the. next issue, the one of correcting the article.
I don’t intend to share the private conversation I had.  What is important is that I realized that by me blaming him not to using the RPD, I was doing exactly that. (and then it does ot even matter if I am right or wrong. When I don’t respect him, why would he listen to me? )

Now this is something I see happening a lot at clients. (Or at my home) .
That is why I think the RPD is so important. It does not matter if David was right or wrong. As long as I did not respect him, we could not talk.

One of the anti-patterns, I see that peopele use to avoid hard feedback, is they postpone publishing products, blogposts, documentation etc. They postpone it untill they thing it’s perfect.
I never seen it work. The more it is finished, the harder the feedback will be when something is wrong. And something always is wrong.

I have the opposite reaction:
I publish my blogposts as fast as possible. And I learn from the feedback.
For me, it’s never about the first product or first draft of a book, it’s about the end result.

And yes you and I can find lots of ways how Laurent could have gotten feedback before publishing. I personally think, now he has gotten more feedback then in any other way.
And I’ m sure that this will lead to a better next result. And that is what we are (at least I am) after.

I don’t want the AA to be perfect. I want them to use agile and adapt. And learn fast. The world is changing fast. Also the agile world. If I want to change anything to the AA, I would want them to adapt faster.

In the agile world we have lots of people that have some kind of musical background.When I started presenting, I had the feeling I had to have original content. As if I could only be a good presenter with original content.Now I know that my presenter gift is story telling.  It doesn’t matter who’s content it is.
Jurgen received some critique for his management book because he was recycling others’ ideas, but I don’t mind. Actually, it’s one of the things I like about his book.(It’s also not true as he has some great toolsin the book.)If I think some further, agile is doing the same. We are gathering great practises and combine them in supporting frameworks.

Some time ago when I first had the idea to write a book, I told myself that whatever I wanted to do, I only wanted to add my ideas to a book, if they were significantly better then things I knew from other people.

Just as a lot of coaches I have an ego, yet it’s not that big that I think my ideas are better then everyone else’s. And then it struck me. That is exactly what I did as a DJ. I played other people’s songs to give my audience a good time. Although I’m not the one writing songs, I am the one throwing great parties. (I see kanban, scrum, TDD as songs). I see my role in the agile community more as a story teller, making publicity for others people songs.

My friend, Johanna told me I could write content, yes I know just like I know some DJs are making music or we have cover bands. I think that if you want to entertain an adult crowd, your songs have to be of great quality. Until now I don’t think I added new songs of quality. Don’t understand me wrong, I don’t mean that in a negative way. I am very proud of my story telling and my mixing of others people songs.

And I think that when you go to an unknown audience you are better of with a collection of CDs than your own songs. Or in coaching language, with any company you are better off with an unlimited tool set than just with your own invented framework.

And yes, some DJ’s only do one genre. And as an audience member, it’s great to go to a rock party or a Gothic event, it’s great because everyone expects this and we all have a good time. And it’s easy as a DJ as he or she can predict what songs the audience will love.
It’s a lot harder at a wedding or a party in a holiday center disco.  There you have all kinds of people, some from countries you have never heard of. You have no idea what songs or even genres they like.

That’s the job of the typical coach who is called in to make an organization agile. When I go into an organisation, I have to blend practises from many cultures to fit the company culture.

Yes I could focus on scrum because that is trendy today, but at some parties that latest bilboard hot 100 song just won’t work. And for some company cultures La Bamba might work and others don’t like touchy feely stuff…

The larger your tool set, the more chance you have to find the sweet spot of an organization. With a DJ people have the habit of asking for songs they like. Some people have to have fun before they will ask for a song. Others will requests songs because they want to help you to start the party. With a band we will expect them to have their own set list.

And yes when I coach, people expect to want a silver bullet from me. (Just like a 16 year old expects the band to play the perfect love song to seduce that beautiful girl he has been watching all night.) As a DJ it’s easier to find the perfect mood.

People don’t like it when I want to listen to them, to know what songs or solution would work.  But for me it’s easier as a coach with a public toolbox then one with my own theories.

I met Zuzi at the first edition of AgileEE in 2009, were she gave a presentation about scrum under extremely short conditions. I did a presentation directly after her in the same room. Usually I concentrate on my own presentation and don’t pay much attention to what is being said. And then she started talking about half a day sprints. Taking about extreme agile. Yes I heard Pascal Van Cauwenberghe talking about small sprints too, but this proved he was a leader and not a lone nut. There went my concentration…

Some time later she invited me to WebExpo, where she organized the agile part of a great conference. I was really pleased when she said yes to Who Is and I could learn some more about this smart women with great organizing skills. And again I learned more then I could wish for. Enjoy her answers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is something people usually don’t know about you but has influenced you in who you are?
I’ve always wanted to have the hair of bright color, but all the time I was afraid to go for such colors so I was experimenting with just light tones. And then, one day I went to a hairdresser and left with real bright red hair color. I was kind of scared at first, but after a while, I realized it was really me and from that time I’m changing the hair colors almost every month.

If you would not have been in IT, what would have become of you?
I guess I would like to be a photographer. Or a dive master. But seriously, I had chosen IT and I still like it. It’s fun. Working with developers and testers on daily basis is a creative work. I like software, it’s easy and fast to try out your ideas and prove them by prototyping, a thing that is not possible in any other industry.

What is your biggest challenge and why is it a good thing for you?
My biggest challenge is to run my own business. In order to start it, I had to learn how to find people to cooperate with, which skills I need myself and which is better to find elsewhere. I would say the biggest lesson learned so far was to accept that I have to let some businesses pass away if they don’t fit, in order to get the right ones later on.
Speaking more general, the biggest challenge is to keep doing things in my way, even though the rest of the people say I should not. Do what I want and believe in, not what I’m expected to do.

What drives you?
The biggest satisfaction and motivation to go on for me is seeing the success of my work. If I help individuals, teams or companies to be better, more efficient and flexible or just have less stress and more fun, it’s the best bonus I can ever get.

What is your biggest achievement?
About six years ago, I had been working at one huge US company for 6 months. After a while I was able to succeed in the different culture and to fit the team there.  In the end, I started the long-term cooperation with that company back from the Czech Republic and it’s still successfully running even without me :)

What is the last book you have read?
The last book I have read is called End of Punk in Helsinki (Konec punku v Helsinkach). It’s a Czech book, I’m afraid there is no translation planned yet.

What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?
My favorite question is ‘where do you want to be in 10 years?
Just imagine one of the nice islands somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, white sand, beach, coconut trees, and myself, lying in a hammock with my new 23rd generation iPad, driving my own business. However, why should I wait all 10 years to make it true? ;)

Who do you think I should ask next?
I will suggest Ola Ellnestam as I’m really interested in his answers

If you like stories like this, please buy our Who is agile book. It contains answers from different people and in the near future will contain an answer from Zuzi on another question.

Last week Duarto Vasco tweeted the question: Best facilitation book for Agile Teams?

I’m not in favor of competive behavior, so I gave a list of agile facilitation books I know (I haven’t read all of them, but the ones I haven’t are on my reading backlog)

This evening I realized more people could be interested in this list, so here it is:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For quite some time I have been asking (bugging) agile authors why they don’t write their books in an agile way.

Most told me it’s impossible.
Some of them have tried. With (in my opinion) nice results.

Agile Retrospectives is written by two authors. If I remember well Diana & Esther had writing sessions where they would write together. (PairProgramming)

For Agile Coaching Rachel and Liz both wrote on their own, but they reviewed and reworked each other’s text (collective code ownership). They also used a kanban board to make their work visual.

Robin Dymond and Gabrielle Benefield have been doing distributed pairwriting using skype and google docs.

All very nice examples, yet I hadn’t yet heard of iterations or at least regurly deploys.

I was told that a book is a one shot option. Hmmm, how many clients have told me that? And how many of them were right?

Last year when I was working on a book on Agile Games, I set up CI server and built the book at regular intervals. I only had a pdf version, but having a real version felt good. The big problem was I was spending so much time on layout and building issues I hardly had time to write. At the same time Johanna told me that writing a book with multiple authors was much harder then with one author. Looks like I was trying to run before I could walk. As a result I failed in public.

Now having time free, I started the Who Is Series on my blog. It is a weekly publication that includes one new person who answers the same set of questions. That very quickly became popular, so popular I had a stock of answers ready to post.

And then I noticed that Laurent Bossavit had published a book. Now Laurent is one of those people in the agile world who is miles ahead of all of us. He used LeanPub.

Leanpub gives people the possibility to publish in a lean way and to republish a book whenever there are changes.  Hmmm, looks like my idea of publishing a book the agile way is coming closer. I made up my mind that if I ever write a book, I would use LeanPub.

And then Elisabeth published There is always a duck. She had the idea. She created the book on LeanPub and after only 4 days she published her book. Wow that was LEAN.

OK, it was content she had been creating the last 15 years. Yet, for someone who had been trying to create multiple books and never succeeded, creating a book in 4 days was impressive.

Now I wanted to start writing myself. Although my first blog post was in 2002, I had abanded that blog. So Elisabeth’s option of using my blog content was not an option for me. Or was it?

I realized that the Who Is series was actually a good candidate for a book. I had popular content and I added answers every week. And it was written by multiple people.

The Who is Agile book was born. It took me a week or 3 to publish the first version – not because I wanted it to be perfect, but because safety is important to me and I wanted to be sure that I had the permission from all 30 people in the book. That was the hardest part.

When I had the permission of 25, I decided I would publish that week, no matter what.

I would withdraw the people that had not given me permission.

And so yesterday the first version was published.

Is it finished? No, it’s a MVP
Do I know what will be in the finished version? No it’s an MVP, so I use this to figure out what my customers want.

Is it bug free? No. At this moment the pictures are not optimized for the book. This means the book is too big. That’s fine. People can read it. And when I update that part (or find someone who is better than me at doing this) I will republish the book and my readers will get the new version of the book in their mailbox.

Along the way Andrea Chiou presented herself to edit the book. She is an agile coach with a quality control history and some free time. Wahoo – now I had a real team.

We used a google spreadsheet to keep track of the work. We did not have standups but used mail to synchronize the work, looks like we have some place for improvement in our team.

That is the future of publishing for me. At least for technical books where people can’t wait for the book to be finished to learn about a technique.

Why would people pay for content that is already free on the web?

I have asked the authors to answer one extra question. So people that read the book do get extra content. It seems to work as I let people pay what they want – some pay nothing, but most pay 29,99.

And while publishing, I thought about so many other things that I want to add to the book.

Does that sound familiar? Yes – pushing the release button has that effect on projects.

Publishing a book the agile way, it’s no longer the future. You can do it today.

Next up? A retrospective with Andrea to see what we can improve…

Update: If you want to experience how agile publishing works for readers, buy the Who Is Agile book and see for yourself.