Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness
Book building is art and science. I've built a few books over the years at patterns & practices. In this post, I'll share a behind the scenes look at what it takes to do so. I'll save the project management piece for another day, and focus on the core of book building.
Book ExamplesBefore we get into the details, here's a quick look at my past books:
If you're familiar with the books, particularly Improving Web Application Security and Improving .NET Application Performance and Scalability, you'll know that the books aren't like typical books. They're optimized to be executed rather than read. The expectation is you'll use them to improve your effectiveness on the job. That's why you can get the books in the bookstore, online or in Visual Studio ... in print, PDF or HTML.
Competitive AssessmentsThe books are targeted at real-world problems and real-world solutions. They've been used for competitive assessments:
Book ApproachAt a high-level, you can think of the approach in five main workstreams:
It's a "test-driven" approach, meaning we start with tests (questions and tasks) that our prescriptive guidance needs to pass. The bulk of the work is building "nuggets" that can be used standalone. We then assemble an end-to-end guide. Throughout the process we verify with test cases, lab repros, internal and external reviews, both with subject matter experts and every day users.
Researching and Analysis This workstream is about getting clarity on the problem space. It includes:
For more information on researching, see my related posts: Analyzing a Problem Space and How To Research Efficiently.
Designing This workstream is an iterative process of spiraling down on solutions. It includes:
For more information, see my related posts: Guidance 2.0, Scenarios in Practice, Scenario Frames for Guidance, and Driver's Guide vs. Owner's Manual.
BuildingThis workstream is where we do the bulk of our solution engineering. It includes:
TestingThis workstream is about verifying the solutions from both a technical and user experience perspective. It includes:
For more information, see my related post: Test-Driven Guidance.
Release This workstream is about making the guidance customer available. It's incremental, iterative and we stabilize over time. it includes:
Keep in mind that it's a stabilization process over time of various form factors and channels. We do our agile guidance on CodePlex, then stabilize and port to MSDN and a book when we're baked. For more information, see my related post CodePlex, GE and MSDN.
Key ConceptsI walked through the process first so that you have a good idea of the end-to-end approach. Here I'll highlight some of the key concepts that underlie my approach:
FeedbackHow do you build books? If you have thoughts, questions or feedback on my book building approach, feel free to share them here or drop me a mail. While this approach has been proven effective over time, there's always room for improvement. I'd like to hear what works for you. If you're a fellow book builder, please share your approach.
My Related Posts
PingBack from http://geeklectures.info/2007/12/24/building-books-in-patterns-and-practices/
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One of the questions I get asked is how did we execute our patterns & practices Application Architecture