In total it took about 18 months to write Code Black, my recently published technical parable story. I’d originally had the idea in the summer of 2018 but it took a little time to properly outline the story.
Instead of using a common format like The Hero’s Journey I used the various stages a team would progress through as they developed and refined their DevOps journey.
Whenever I write the first thing I do is try to outline where I want to go. This involved Mike being approached by his friend Bob (who was called Robert) at that point. Obviously he had to join the company and walk into chaos, I tried to describe a bad day we could all relate to.
As the team learns they begin to invest in more frequent releases. I wanted to explain as many of the good reasons why this was as good an idea as possible. The reduced technical risk, the reduced delivery risks, and the increased ability. I also wanted to discuss some of the common objections. Before moving onto discussing Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployments and how using these techniques makes it less likely your sprints will fail and makes it easier to help your customer with your resorting to release branching strategies.
Once I’d outlined the story and had a basic idea of the characters it was time to sit down and write. In reality it only took a couple of months to create a first draft. Knowing where I am going always makes it a lot easier to put words in a page.
Once I’d finished writing I printed everything off and put it on a shelf for a few months. I wanted to forget as much as I could before I started proof reading so I could spot as many errors as possible.
Many of my colleagues found me over this period sat throughout lunchtime with a stack of paper and a highlighter pen. Believe me, I found a lot of things which didn’t make sense.
Once I’d corrected as much as I could it was time to publish. I’d already created my LeanPub account and in true agile style I decided it was best not to procrastinate and to start gathering feedback. The great thing about LeanPub is that it’s very easy to update your book in response to suggestions.
So that’s the story, I’ve now sold a handful of copies and so far the feedback has been very positive. I probably shouldn’t but I’m already thinking about what I should write next!
If you’re interested in picking up a copy of Code Black it’s on LeanPub now.