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Clarke Ching's Rocks and Snowballs Blog

Rolling Rocks Downhill .... awesome news!

clarke ching

I decided today to practice what I preach and publish Rolling Rocks Downhill as a series.

I'll start the final edits for "RRD book 1" (the current beta) shortly, aiming to publish it early next year.  Book 1 ends with a cliff-hanger.  

I'll release “RRD book 2” in 2015 or 16.  It'll be slightly shorter book (a novella?) and ... it will end with a cliff hanger.  “RRD book 3” will follow and ... so on …

---

I discovered today (if you click the link, search for "cliffhanger") that this is how books were published in the  old days.  

In the 18th century ... the circulating libraries’ business model encouraged publishers to put out books in three volumes, so three people could be reading one book at once; novelists would write to the form, fleshing out their prose to fill the “triple-decker” format. The development of magazine and newspaper serialisation further encouraged some novelists towards length, as well as setting up a distinctive rhythm of cliffhangers at the end of each instalment.
— THE FUTURE OF THE BOOK - from The Economist

 

So, books used to be published in an Agile way.

Apparently Dickens worked this way: 

Dickens’ first novel, the brilliantly comic THE PICKWICK PAPERS, brought him enormous fame. Like all his subsequent novels, it was originally published serially, that is, in installments or parts over time.

He not only published serially but wrote serially too, planning each installment carefully. (His contemporary, Anthony Trollope, also published this way, but unlike Dickens, he never published the first word of a novel until after he had written the last.) Dickens had to consider structure carefully, thinking simultaneously of the needs of his serial readers and of those who would eventually read the books in volume form. He published his serial fiction as part of weekly or monthly magazines, which might contain material by other authors as well, or in stand-alone monthly installments.
— Dickens - Life and Career - Serial Publication - http://www.pbs.org/wnet/dickens/life_publication.html

TOC, Schwaber and Scaling Scrum (or Agile in General)

clarke ching

It's nice to see Ken Schwaber's comments on his blog about Scaling Scrum:

To get a good feel for what scaling Scrum feels like, I refer you to Eliyahu Goldratt’s “The Goal” (or any of his later books), or Gene Kim and Kevin Behr’s “The Phoenix Project.” You will see the difficulty of teasing through symptoms to root causes, the effort to find solutions, and the possibility that solutions have undesirable side affects.

 

 

My Dad to me: "What do you do in your job?"

clarke ching

I spent a lot of time with my Dad when I was back home in New Zealand this year.  He's a farmer (at heart) and I'm a computer scientist (at heart), and, honestly, we've never had anything in common work-wise, but we get along just fine.

At one stage, while sitting in his boat fishing, he asked me, "What is it you do in your job?"

I said, "Ahhh", because it's hard to enough to explain my job (or Agile) to people who work with computers, let alone a gnarly old farmer who's been semi-retired for the last 10 years and used a computer for the first time when he bought an instruction manual for rebuilding his bulldozer.  

My only option, really, was an analogy, but since my dad is a very concrete person it had to be a very concrete analogy.  I thought a moment ...

I said, 'You remember how, when I was little, you built your garage and we then lived in it while you helped the carpenter built our house?'

"Yep."

"You remember how we then moved into the house and, when I was about 10, you built on the conservatory?"

"Yep."

"You remember how, some time after I left home, you replaced the conservatory and extended the front room out and bought that huge telly?'

"Ah ha."

"And, you remember how, a few years ago, you extended my old room and put in your air-con and ensuite?  And how Mum now wants to replace the kitchen?"

"I do."

'Well, I help businesses improve themselves just like you built up your house.  They can't afford to build the whole thing perfectly up front, they don't usually know what perfect even looks like, and they want to start using their improvements this year, rather than waiting 5 years, or 20."

"And that's what you do?"

"Yep."

"But do you do that with computers, rather than hammers and nails?"

"We do."

Five minutes later and Dad said, "And when you do this, do you talk your 2nd son - the practical one - into becoming a builder so it's cheaper to keep extending your house?"

"We do".

oOo

I hope this helps.