BOOK A CALL

June 22, 2016

Writing an Agile Article for a Proper Journal

By Russ Lewis. Published online June 22, 2016

Agile article writing fountain pen
The work of the agile business analyst is never done is one of the conclusions reached in my first agile article for online journal InfoQ User Stories Are Placeholders for Requirements. At 3500 words plus five key take-away points, and with editorial and peer-review by the wonderful agile writer and educator Ben Linders, this was by far the longest agile article I've written in many years and it took several attempts to reach the high standards of authorship required.

At first, I found myself writing 'blog-style', writing a main point in about 300-400 words. But that just yielded ten different 'stream of consciousness' points that made about as much sense as a reference to James Joyce in a post about writing agile articles. Nonetheless, it gave me some options for the main points and I was able to concentrate on those.

An agile article is not a blog post

Having become used to writing and reading 400-600 word blog posts, a full agile article requires far more commitment from the reader. Not just in getting through the quantity of words, but maintaining the thread of the argument and evaluating it too. This is something I realise I have become unused to doing. It even feels like work.

When I'm facilitating a workshop, I tell stories that demonstrate a point. Well, sometimes they are just for fun, but mostly the intention is to provide a mental hook from which to hang an idea or a principle. Yesterday, for instance, I told my Agile In a Day group a story about Mum who will only go into town if she knows where she is going to park! It's a reminder that we shouldn't let be limited by the unknown, and that making decisions as late as possible increases flexibility.

Since I was writing for a 'proper' publication, I thought it best to avoid telling stories at all, but Ben advised me that the house style at InfoQ is to include experience reports. To describe 'what happened when you tried this', and to share the pitfalls so others could avoid them too.

Each draft was a little better than the previous, and eventually it was good enough for publication. I'm proud of the result and besides, it always feels like an honour to have your work published.

Read the full agile article on InfoQ.

Newsletter signup

    Recent Posts

    How to restore Teams Wiki data after Jan 2024

    Microsoft killed Wiki on Teams - who knew they would delete our data too - here's how to restore it

    Read More
    Transformation research update

    'Managing Tensions not People' as transformation method research update at the end of 2023 This time last year I was searching through the ambidexterity literature for tensions other than the usual explore-exploit. I built a website to publish my progress online, which I think was a diversion! Literature research update I found more than 70 […]

    Read More
    The HOW of Transformation

    The HOW of Transformation recorded at the Global Digital Transformation Summit in Berlin 2023 Summary Managers who manage tensions enjoy greater performance, especially in complex and dynamic environments. In this 36-minute talk: I tell the story of Transport for London's transformation from a one-sided fares Operator to an integrated Developer-Operator. And show how technologists using […]

    Read More
    In praise of rights licensing bots

    I was at the digital transformation summit in Berlin last week when I got a scary "unlicensed use" email from a rights licensing lawyer. The rights licensing bot service sent me a screenshot of the page and the cartoon I was alleged to have used. I say alleged because I didn't recognise the cartoon or […]

    Read More
    Ways of Working: 5 improvements for leaders

    Most ways of working still rely on functional hierarchy, where managers make decisions and workers do the work. Managers know they can't change this work structure, but they can transform its effectiveness without asking for permission and without needing a budget. Before exploring the changes that transform the way people work, we need to recognise […]

    Read More
    Manage tensions if you want an agile transformation

    Today’s challenge is that traditional management approaches, where managers tell people what to do and how to do it, are not as effective as they once were. Agile transformation takes years, but changing management’s focus from people to tensions could be a better solution. It is simpler, faster, and considerably more cost-effective. Management is the […]

    Read More
    September 9, 2020
    Context is Key

    Every organisation has a particular set of problems created by the thinking system employed by its managers.Humble leaders seek ways to improve themselves and their management teams. By opening themselves to learning and self-discovery, they see the flaws in their systems. This brings understanding, which makes what needs to change quite obvious.This is the normal […]

    Read More
    December 4, 2023
    The HOW of Transformation

    The HOW of Transformation recorded at the Global Digital Transformation Summit in Berlin 2023 Summary Managers who manage tensions enjoy greater performance, especially in complex and dynamic environments. In this 36-minute talk: I tell the story of Transport for London's transformation from a one-sided fares Operator to an integrated Developer-Operator. And show how technologists using […]

    Read More
    November 11, 2014
    Agile was Designed for Developers not Management

    Don’t be Fooled by this Agile Craze If you are in a management or leadership role, the best way to help an agile team succeed is to learn what your team needs from you. Increase Agile Management Beyond the Team It’s relatively easy to agilise a single team, but the real challenge lies in ensuring […]

    Read More
    1 2 3 13
    linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram