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Preface

By August 30, 2014 4 Comments

4 Comments

  • Comments on preface chapter:

    I think that when you say this: “I have learned a lot of things that can help us improve each other’s lives…” you mean not only in their workplaces. So, what do you think about “I have learned a lot of things that can help us improve each other’s lives even, and above all, out of their workplaces”.

    Page II:
    “We need to agree on what to do and on how to do it. We have to align: ” etc… Probably is not only a matter of “alignation”, but also a matter of adaptation. Let me explain: if you met someone less “agile” than you, you can’t (and you don’t want) change his mind in a while and you can’t change your one. So, the best is to start adapting principles, values, etc. to find a first meeting point. The sentence could be “We need to agree on what to do and how to do it. We have to adapt and step by step align:”

    Page IV:
    “So if I make you angry, I will be sad and sorry about that, for it is not my intention.” I would like to add something like: “If you won’t agree with me, we will have the opportunity to put into practice an important Agile principle: we can talk about this subject and collaborate. Communication is the key to collaboration, and collaboration is very Agile”.

    Page IV:
    “it will challenge some prevailing “traditional” beliefs that have been integrated into your life to fit nicely with “institutionalized” thinking,” in this section you could take a little introduction about the meaning of “habits and how to break them”, not an easy work. For example you could quote that part of my article when I speak about that exercise… ”I ask all participants to put their arms at their sides and then cross them on their chest: I ask them to repeat this exercise for 5/6 times than I say: “Cross your arms on your chest… but conversely!””

  • emondclaude says:

    Thank you very much for those comments Stefano. They are all very relevant and useful.
    I will wait for the comments of other co-editors and until the end of November to integrate what you propose. The last point and referring to your blog article is and excellent idea; I will most probably extract one citation from your blog and include it as a quote with your twitter photo-address and a note, just like I did for Max. Would you agree to that? I will coordinate this point with you.

    Just a few questions to have a feel of the overall effect of the preface (that I will forward to every potential co-editor):

    How do you find the overall contents?
    Too long?
    Too short (I doubt that hehe)?
    Anything I missed for a preface?
    Anything that does belong somewhere else in the book? That should be left out?
    How about the tone? Too familiar or just fine for you? (I am and want to stay friendly, transparent, provocative and politically incorrect–am I overdoing it?)

    I will send to everybody a longer version of the eBook’s table of contents. I believe it will help you all have a better feel for what is coming and answer more easily those questions.

    Thank you again for your comments and suggestions, Stefano. This means a lot to me and to those who will seek answers and inspirations from reading this book.

  • Hi Claude,
    for me it would be a great honor to have a citation in your book :-) As you said, we will coordinate.

    For the other questions:
    I think that contents are perfect and the chapter is long as it needs.
    All the things you wrote are perfect for a preface – maybe in the future, writing (and reading) next chapters we could find something new to add or something to remove (or shorten). I think it’s normal :-)

    For your tone, I loved your familiar one, because you are not writing a book of recipes (take a little of these, take a little of that), but you are writing a book that speaks about Agile in a very different way: you are speaking of using Agile to improve ourserlves, our families, our friend, our world. Your tone is very adapt to this book style. Maybe I can say this in another way: you are not writing a technical book on Agile, you are writing a book about SOCIAL IMPACTS of Agile adoption in our lives.

    I’m very happy to collaborate to this project! I thank you!

  • I have found reviewing the preface a little hard because it contains notes to co-editors. As such, I wasn’t always sure what was meant to be in the final version or not. Some comments, therefore, might not be relevant. Nevertheles, I noted a lot of little things on a syntaxic level.
    In the “Note on this special edition” page:
    – “why most projects fail to deliver the maximum of benefits to all concerned” should be “why most projects fail to deliver the maximum benefits to all concerned” (removed ‘of’)
    – “This book proposes a global framework and mindset that will help you to understand clearly and make this Agile Mindset a part of your approach to life and its many changes, to be more successful and happier.” is a long and unclear sentence. I would rephrase it as “This book proposes a global framework and mindset. That Agile Mindset will help you understand your approach to life and its many changes and to make it a part of your life in order to be more successful and happier.”
    – “…think about your past experiences and what you can change based on what I explain to you.” would sound better if ending with “based on what I explained.”
    – Right after, “Take from it what you…” should be replaced by “Use what you…”

    On page 1:
    – Halfway through we can read “What I have learned in my life of projects can contribute, with your help, to change this turbulent, very unfriendly place for the majority of Humankind, in order to make it a happier, self-sustaining world for our grandchildren, our children and ourselves.” Again, this long sentence is hard to read. Cutting it in two would help. I propose :”What I have learned during the various projects in my life can contribute to change this turbulent, very unfriendly place for the majority of Humankind. With your help, we can create a happier, self-sustaining world for our grandchildren, our children and ourselves.”

    On page 2:
    – “But I’ll do more than talking about values. Values per se, although being the principal…” should be “But I’ll do more than talk about values. Values alone, although being the principal…”
    – Right after you go on with an enumeration. ” We have to align:  our values (why),  our life principles, priorities and actions (what),  as well as our approaches/best practices/methods/techniques (how to), to be able to make the most of existing resources and build together this better future.” Putting the list in the middle of the sentence breaks the reading flow. Try this instead: “In order to to make the most of existing resources and build together this better future, we have to align:  our values (why),  our life principles, priorities and actions (what),  our approaches/best practices/methods/techniques (how to),.”
    – 3 lines down, “I will present you 4 values, 4 best …” makes for a lot of “I will” repetitions. Try “This book presents 4 values, 4 best…”

    On page 3:
    – At the very top, “we are not clear about what we are agreeing on.” should be “we are not clear about what we agree on.”
    – Right after, “We do not know anymore what values are, what techniques are, what principles are, what methodologies are, what mindsets and philosophies are.” I’m not sure if you are referring specifically to Agile values, principles, techniques, etc. or if you speak in broader terms. You also don’t need to repeat the “what … are” for every concept. So I think it should become “We do not know what values, principles, techniques, methodologies, mindset or principles are anymore.” if you speak in broad terms. If you refer to Agile, maybe this would be better suited “We have lost the true meaning of Agile values, principles, techniques, methodologies, mindset and principles.”
    – Second to last paragraph contains “However, I am doing and feeling pretty good with this life of mine…” sounds better as ” However, I am satisfied with my life…”

    On page 4:
    – The first element of the list ends with “will help you and all of us contribute to a better our lives.” but I think this would be more appropriate “will help all of us improve our lives.”

    On page 5:
    – Last paragraph you wrote “A lot of it this material will also”. There is an “it” that doesn’t belong. It becomes “A lot of this material will also”
    – “…while each of us works at helping to build a happier…” should be “…while each of us works at building a happier….”

    Overall:
    My overall feeling on the preface is that it is somewhat long, not so much because of the number of pages but because there are a lot of repetitions. It feels “heavy” as if it’s not going anywhere. I think you should try to lighten it up. For instance, on page 2, you mention what you will present in the book (“I will share what I have learned”, “I will present 4 values, …”, etc.) Then on the next pages you go on and repeat roughly the same (“I believe I can share something useful”, “My intention is to share what I believe”, “8 ingredients that must be present”, “4 values, 4 practices, 10 principles”). When this happens to my while writing, I find it is often because I don’t set a specific objective for a given paragraph or section. So I would suggest trying to cut the duplicates, focus on an element per section and remove anything that doesn’t relate or add to that specific goal.