Bob on Writing

The "Moose" on Writing, part-2

The "Moose" on Writing, part-2

Continuing on with my guidance for prospective writers…

Audience

When I wrote the first edition of my Scrum Product Ownership book, my target audience was the beginning Product Owner. Someone who had literally no experience in the role.

Consider this my persona for the book.

I defined this focus very early, even before outlining the book. And it gave me a clear vision for flow, topic coverage, and literally every word I wrote.

In fact, I continuously asked myself – how is this section going to help the novice Product Owner? And – am I missing anything they need to know?

I can’t tell you how useful creating a primary persona (identifying your audience) is when writing. It helps keep you focused an on-point with your writing. It also helps keep the book lean, because as you edit, you always connect back to your persona. And if the content doesn’t align, then cut it.

Finding your Personal Style

I started public speaking in the late 1990’s. As I said in the introduction, I’m an introvert and I started doing it to improve. One of the early mistakes I made was copying another speakers style for my own. I’m embarrassed to say that I mimicked Johanna Rothman initially. And it didn’t go well.

The "Moose" on Writing, part-1

The "Moose" on Writing, part-1

I remember is as if it was yesterday. It was 2000 – 2001. I was working at Lucent (Bell Labs) at the time when the telecommunications bubble burst and I was laid off from my job. Along with thousands of others across the industry. 

Lucent had a development center on the campus of NC State here in Raleigh, NC. There were ~300 folks that worked there and we were all let go.

But it was a protracted departure, as the process took about 3-months for everyone to pack up and leave the building in waves. I was one of the leaders who stayed until the very end and turned off the lights. Lucky me.

I had a lot of idle time and I started to write a book to fill that space. It wasn’t something I’d planned, but it was a topic that I had some passion around (and thoughts to share). The book became Software Endgames, which was eventually published by Dorset House in 2004.

Since then, I’ve self-published three books related to agile topics. One of them, Scrum Product Ownership, is in it’s 3’rd Edition.  

People often ask me for advice around writing. Usually, it’s related to how to get started. Sometimes the discussion is around their ambition to write a book. While I don’t consider myself an expert in either space, I decided to share my learnings in this 3-part article series. I hope you find some value in it.