Agile Writing: A Novel Approach to Writing a Novel
Sometimes a writer’s day job can really help him write. It all started in 2000 when Asim Jalis, a friend of mine, kept pestering me about how to apply eXtreme Programming (XP) to writing. I say pester, because, like an a fly buzzing around the room which had grown a mouth and spoke with the voice of James Earl Jones, he kept challenging me until I tried to do things like unit test writing, pair write, and a bunch of other crazy. (Asim, when you become wildly popular and rich because people want to put recordings of you on their ringtones, you can pay me back.)
So we applied some of the XP practices to writing projects with a little success. But it never revolutionized my approach to producing writing.
Later, after years of doing Agile Consulting, I’ve learned other Agile processes that weren’t so tailored to the task of engineering software. Scrum is a great process that can be applied to the production of anything that you can make a list of “what you want.”
I decided to write a novel that teaches those in the software industry how to use this process, but in an entertaining way. A more direct way would be to become friends with Asim, find friends like Asim, hire me as a consultant, or hire an Agile consultant. But if you can’t do that, then you can learn the principles of Agile development from my novel Agile Noir, which you could read on a flight from Florida to Seattle and ALMOST get the same entertainment value as hanging out in a coffee shop with its author, or his friend Asim (he prefers his name pronounced Awesome, by the way).
What’s so novel about an Agile novel? Well, Agile Noir is the only Agile business novel out there. There are plenty of non-fiction books about Agile but hey, everyone–even non-Agile people–will enjoy reading a novelization about Kartar, a project manager, and how he uses Agile processes to save his project and his life. That’s pretty novel! The other novelty is that Agile Noir is being writing using an Agile process called Scrum. And where XP didn’t fit the writing regime very well, Scrum worked very nicely.
Writers who may wish to use Scrum for their writing projects, Agile practitioners who wish to read an informal case study on applying Agile to writing, and readers who are interested in learning more about Agile, will be interested in the “making of” Agile Noir that starts at this page: Using Agile to write Agile Noir. You will find links to photos and videos of me going through the process of using Scrum to write my novel. And since the writing of my novel is still in progress, this page about the making of will continue to grow in an incremental fashion until Agile Noir is finished.