I'm the son of a University Librarian. I'm a reader of books, all kinds of books, fiction, non-fiction, technical, science (biology and physics), journals (business, science, technical), and about half the time, books in my field. These include project management, cost management, earned value, government contracting and gory detailed stuff around program management.
Over time I've come to the conclusion there are two kinds of authors.
- Ones that want to inform me on how to improve the things I'm interested in.
- Those who want to complain about something that effected them and now what to tell me how they would fix it.
For some reason many authors in the agile business start their books and most chapter with a negative statement.
"Management has a hard time dealinig with change."
"All the waterfall processes are flawed."
"EV is Hog Wash."
These authors seem to have an axe to grind, and by God they're gonna grind in at every opportunity.
Other authors start with a baseline statement and add their touch,
"there's more to project complexity, than just the concept of complexity."
"One of the best ways to introduce Scrum is through a small group setting within an interested collection of developers."
As a trained proposal writer - one of the life changing jobs I've had - we learned that "down selling," is poor selling. Selling based on the problem, locks the problem as the basis of the sale.
"You can't get the CPR out the door, so you need us to help you."
Is factually correct, but it sets the tone on the problem rather the solution.
"We can provide you actionable information in a timely manner that increases the probability of your project's success,"
is my current "upward selling" tag line for our services.
I've written book chapters in science and engineering books, loads of refereed papers, and even loads more technical reports, and more proposals than I ever wanted to. The proposal writing is the hardest for the simple reason that the reviewer doesn't just comment of the likeability of the content. They award or do not award contracts on that likeability. It's the ultimate test of writing skills - you win the contract or you don't. You have to have 7C's for the winning proposal (thanks to the proposal school):
- Compliant - books don't do this that much.
- Compelling - this is the core of good story telling, fiction or non-fiction.
- Correct - if the content is not correct, the author is suspect for all other things in the book.
- Consistent - no changing the thread unless it's part of the plot.
- Concise - over stating a concept dilutes the message.
- Clear - no fancy words, no showing off how much you know.