Travels in Software: the idea

I’ve altered and made more specific the idea behind Travels in Software. People without experience can’t get by with only facts: they need stories. Stories teach them values—habits and reactions they can put to use when they have a thorny dilemma. Stories also give them a mental picture of an achievable way of working. People can say, “What we’re doing here just doesn’t feel right. Story planning [or test-driven design, or standups] seemed so smooth in that story. Let’s move toward that way of working.”

So the book will be largely made up of stories told by people who are proud of their work, their team, how they handled some problem or seized some opportunity. The stories will describe how to be or become a team that works with ease.

I plan to present these stories as oral histories. I’ll record people, ask questions, help them tell their story, then edit the story down—removing my promptings, any redundancies or un-useful digressions. The goal is to produce the most compelling possible version of the teller’s words. My model is Studs Terkel. (To see this style, look inside Hard Times.)

I’ll post the stories in a blog. In the book version, stories or groups of stories will be preceded or followed by explanatory text and essays on the topics covered.

The first interview is tomorrow. For now, I plan to conduct them in person. Mail me if you have a story to tell.

3 Responses to “Travels in Software: the idea”

  1. Chris McMahon Says:

    You should make a list of people who you know will be or should be included.

  2. nicholas a. evans Says:

    Sounds like an brilliant idea, and I’m looking forward to the results.

    The people who already disregard agile as being too much of a “cult” or “religious” system won’t care much for it. Their loss.

  3. Exploration Through Example » Blog Archive » Portland OR trip coming up Says:

    […] going to Portland April 16 to work on Travels in Software. If you’re a person I should interview, mail me. I’m also interested in observing teams who do something well that they’d like […]

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